Practices Should Be Aware of Changes to Department of Labor Civil Penalties, Effective Aug. 1, 2016

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced increases to civil penalty amounts assessed by its administrations, including the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Wage and Hour Division, and Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. The changes were made to adjust for inflation, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

The DOL says that the new civil penalty amounts are applicable only to civil penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016, whose associated violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. A few noteworthy changes include the following:

  • OSHA's maximum penalties have increased by 78 percent, with the top penalty for serious violations increasing from $7,000 to $12,471. The DOL says OSHA maximum penalties have not been raised since 1990.
  • Employee Benefit Security Act penalties that apply to health and welfare plans are increasing. For example:
    • Failure to file Form 5500 for plan's annual report—Penalty has been raised from up to $1,100 per day to up to $2,063 per day.
    • Failure to provide CHIP notice—Penalty has been raised from up to $100 per day/per employee to up to $110 per day per employee.
    • Failure to file annual report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWA)—Penalty has been raised from up to $1,100 per day to up to $1,502 per day.

The DOL provides additional resources on the inflation adjustment:

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