This New Year’s Eve will be a night to remember. Although we most likely won’t be at any large gatherings, everyone around the world will be celebrating the end of 2020 and the start of a new and promising year. But before you grab your face mask, hand sanitizer and glass of champagne, make sure that you button up the year properly. This year has been difficult, and we are all ready to bid it farewell, but there are some practical and business matters that need to be addressed before you can pull out the noisemakers. Here are some items to address in December so that 2021 will start off right:
- Prepare for w2s – Now is the time to ensure you have correct addresses, add fringe benefits, and update systems with any third-party pay. Work with your payroll provider to confirm that everything is ready for an easy January.
- Review benefits and policies – January is a popular time for new benefits to start. However, remember that employee benefits are more than just health insurance and be sure to consider paid time off, holidays and other forms of benefits. Also, take time in December to read your employee handbook and confirm that it is up to date and relevant.
- Research state developments – If your business is in multiple states, make sure that you are aware of any changes which may impact your organization, such as minimum wage increases, expanded leave provisions, and posting requirements.
- Evaluate COVID impact – The pandemic had a major impact on insurance carriers and state unemployment funds, which can have a direct repercussion on your business. South Carolina has announced that the unemployment tax rates will NOT increase in 2021, which is great news. However, other states may not be able to make such promises. Monitor state laws for how COVID will affect your business from both unemployment insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance. States have taken varied approaches, which can directly impact your company’s financials.
- Expiration of COVID legislation – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) provided businesses and individuals with multiple programs to lessen the financial impact of the pandemic. Many of the programs are set to expire at the end of the year. Be on the lookout for new COVID relief measures or possibly an extension of some of the current provisions.
- Apply for loan forgiveness – If your business received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan this year, you should apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period or you must begin the repayment. You have time, but the end of the year is a great time to work with your lender and accountant, compile the necessary information, and determine the best process for forgiveness.
As much as we want this year to be over, it is important to take the time to end the year on a positive note. Now is the time to complete unfinished tasks, review regulatory changes and prepare for year-end processes. 2020 has been difficult for businesses, communities and individuals, yet there has been a lot to celebrate as well. Before the year ends, carve out some time to meditate on the year. Focus on the hardships as well as the lessons learned. Then grab a glass of champagne or sparkling cider and get ready to ring in 2021!
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Propel HR is an IRS-certified PEO that has been a leading provider of human resources and payroll solutions for more than 20 years. Propel partners with small to midsized businesses to manage payroll, employee benefits, compliance and risks, and other HR functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and reduces costs. For more information, visit www.propelhr.com.