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The Essentials: HR, Benefits and Payroll Checklists

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Human resources, employee benefits and payroll functions are separate yet intertwined, and checklists are essential to staying on top of your responsibilities for each one. Below are examples of what might be included in these checklists.

Pale blue binder with a label that says "HR compliance" sitting on a desk with 2 binder clips

Human resource management checklist

  • HR department plan: Lays out the structure and operation of your human resources department.

  • Recruiting and onboarding: Open positions, job descriptions, job postings, sourcing, interviewing, offer letters, hiring, employee handbook and new-hire training.

  • Compensation: Salary or pay range for each position, expense reimbursements and incentive pay (e.g., bonuses, stock options, gifts and awards).

  • Performance management: Employee performance evaluations, pay increases, pay adjustments, promotions, demotions, transfers and disciplinary actions.

  • Employee development: Coaching, mentoring, individual development plans, ongoing training, cross training and succession planning.

  • Health and safety: Ensuring that the workplace is free of health and safety hazards.

  • Employee termination: The process for offboarding employees.

  • HR internal controls and audit procedures.

Take note of the federal, state and local laws that apply to each HR activity, including anti-discrimination regulations.


Employee benefits management checklist

  • Mandatory benefits: Workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, FMLA leave, paid sick leave and state disability insurance.

  • Voluntary benefits: Paid and unpaid time off, health insurance, 401(k), health flexible spending account, health savings account, health reimbursement arrangement, dependent care assistance plan and commuter benefits.

  • Eligibility and participation rules for each benefit program.

  • Benefit enrollment for new hires, open enrollment for existing employees, and benefit continuation or termination for separated employees.

  • Disclosures to plan participants: Summary plan descriptions, summaries of material modifications, annual funding notices, etc.

  • Benefits compliance: Written plan document, Form 5500 reporting, 401(k) nondiscrimination testing, etc.

  • Benefits internal controls and audit procedures.

Take note of the federal, state and local laws that apply to each benefit activity, such as the ACA, IRC, ERISA, COBRA and EEO regulations.


Payroll Management Checklist

  • Timekeeping system and procedures for employees.

  • Preprocessing payroll duties: Salaries, hourly rates, direct deposit forms, Form W-4s, state tax withholding forms, adjustments to employees' time, etc.

  • Payroll processing for new hires, existing employees and terminated employees.

  • Verification of gross-to-net calculations before issuing paychecks. Double-check salaries, hourly wages, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, mandatory and voluntary deductions, expense reimbursements, etc.

  • Payroll tax compliance: Withholding taxes from employees' wages, depositing employee and employer payroll taxes, filing payroll tax reports and processing Form W-2s.

  • Payroll recordkeeping for nonexempt and exempt employees.

  • Payroll reconciliation and accounting to ensure accurate payroll transactions and general ledger entries.

  • Payroll internal controls and audit procedures.

Take note of the federal, state and local laws that apply to each payroll activity, such as minimum wage, overtime, child labor, garnishment, pay stubs, final pay and tax regulations.

Keep in mind that these checklists are only examples. The details of your HR, benefits and payroll checklists will depend on your unique business structure and requirements.


Reach out to FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions to help your organization manage and maintain all of its HR needs.


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