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by Michael Murphy / November 19, 2019

As 2019 nears its close and 2020 is on the horizon, it’s a good idea to carve out some time from your schedule and take stock of the current state of your HR department. There are some necessary year-end tasks that need to be completed, and some trends to keep an eye on for next year and beyond.

True, the sheer volume of things to do can sometimes seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a checklist of all those year-end tasks that you can consult as needed. We’ve also highlighted a few HR-related trends that will no doubt continue into 2020.

The 2019 Year-End Checklist

As 2019 wraps up, there are several items that should be on your agenda as a Human Resources manager. We can divide these items into 4 basic categories:

  • General HR tasks
  • Payroll
  • Compliance
  • Benefits

Let’s examine these categories one at a time.

General HR Tasks

  • Schedule a team meeting to highlight accomplishments of the past year. As the curtain rings down on 2019, take some time to recognize the achievements of your team members. In that same meeting, you can also set goals for the coming year.
  • Plan out your year. Create a calendar/handbook for 2020, and include important information such as company-observed holidays, special events, and so forth. You may want to schedule time for important HR initiatives, such as compliance training (e.g., sexual harassment training, safety training, or drug-free workplace training). Make sure your handbook has up-to-date info in vital areas such as attendance policies, benefits, compensation and performance review procedures, the discipline and termination process, and emergency protocols.


  • Update all W-2 and W-3 forms, and get ready to file 1096 and 1099 MISC forms as needed. The IRS waits on no one: all employee and independent contractor-related forms are due by January 31, 2020. 
  • Check updated healthcare deadlines and filing requirements. For the 2020 coverage year, Open Enrollment goes from November 1 to December 15, 2019.
  • Audit your Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) and review employee classifications. If your company is a small-to-midsize business right around the edge of that FMLA-qualifying number of 50 employees, then it is vital to audit your FTEs to determine whether your business has to comply with FMLA guidelines in 2020. In addition, double check that your employees are all in the correct classification, per DOL standards.
  • Prepare all required FICA and FUTA forms. Remember that the deadline for the FICA Form 941 is October 31, 2019 for the 3rd quarter, and January 31, 2020 for the 4th quarter. The FUTA Form 940 is also due January 31, 2020. It also never hurts to double check employee addresses before filing!


  • Review labor law updates. One of the biggest updates is the Department of Labor’s final rule on overtime pay. This guideline, which will go into effect at the start of 2020, regulates the earning thresholds for exempted employees, and also allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses and commissions towards meeting the mandatory salary level. In addition, review all state, county, and local labor laws that apply to your company, and make sure all applicable labor laws are posted in visible locations throughout your facilities.

    Here, we have put together an in-depth guide to help you understand and comply with the new rules. Inside you will find: A Decision Making Guide, an Implementation Guide, Sample Employee Notification Letters, Exemption Definitions, an Employee Exemption Flow Chart, and Related Links to the Department of Labor. 

    Click on the image below to get your guide.

  • Prepare to submit an updated OSHA Form 300A. This applies to businesses with a minimum of 10 employees. Employers are required to post this completed form (a summary of workplace injuries and illnesses) from February 1 to April 1 on a yearly basis.
  • Prepare and distribute annual notices. You may need to distribute Medicare Part D, HIPAA, and CHIPRA notices to participants in your prescription drug coverage plan.


  • Prepare Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements are largely dependent on your company's number of FTEs. If your company has 50 or more FTEs, then you’ll need to file Form 1095-C by February 28, 2020, and Form 1094-C by March 4, 2020.
  • Distribute a health plan summary to each plan participant. This should take place within 90 days of employee enrollment.
  • Fill out Form 5500. Some companies must file an employee benefits plan report (Form 5500 or 5500-SF) with the DOL. This form is due on the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends (or July 31st, for calendar year plans).

Key HR Trends for 2020

While there are many HR trends that promise to continue into the new year, three key trends to examine are:

  • The implementation of smart HR analytics. While this is not necessarily a new trend, the field of HR analytics promises to expand even further as more and more companies see the wisdom of leveraging hard data to make correct business decisions. For example, companies with a high turnover rate can utilize analytics tools to determine some root causes that result in employees moving on. Resignation rates and demographics could be strongly correlated to promotion wait time, performance, or a number of other factors. In this scenario, leveraging the right data set can help your company to retain top talent and reduce churn rate.
  • Fostering a “Millennial-friendly” corporate culture. The Millennial demographic contains many talented and valuable employees in the workforce today. That being said, many Millennials value different aspects of working life than their Gen-X or Baby Boomer predecessors. For instance, a large proportion of Millennials crave flexible working arrangements instead of the traditional 9 to 5 weekday shift. They are also very concerned with social, political, and environmental issues, and want to see their employers “contribute to the greater good.” It is important for company leaders to do what they can to promote these values. and thus retain the loyalty of their Millennial employees.
  • Promoting employee engagement. Gallup data indicates that only 34% of US workers (and a paltry 13% of global workers) report that they are engaged at work. Low engagement scores have been linked to reduced productivity, high turnover rates, and a host of other job-related issues. To combat this negative trend, focus on promoting employee engagement. Analyze your company’s current processes for gathering employee feedback, and budget for training and coaching. Recommend changes as needed. Be sure to implement a policy of recognition for outstanding individual achievements on a regular basis.

With this checklist and 2020 trend predictions, we hope the rest of your year is both productive and successful. If you are curious about further details related to year-end HR tasks, or future HR trends, then Platinum Group can be an excellent resource.

Platinum Group is a full service human capital management (HCM) resource that allows businesses to manage their payroll and benefits compliance, track time and attendance, and conduct other human resources functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and eliminates redundancies. This is made possible by means of our platform, iSolved. For more information about Platinum Group, or to schedule a demo of iSolved, please visit our website.

Tags: Payroll & Human Resources Platinum Group Asheville Payroll iSolved HCM iSolved Payroll FLSA Compliance Asheville HCM

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Michael is the founder of Platinum Group. His passion is in helping businesses to simplify their employee management and accounting processes.