Pension & Benefits News DOL adjusts ERISA civil monetary penalties for 2019 in final regs
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Monday, February 4, 2019

DOL adjusts ERISA civil monetary penalties for 2019 in final regs

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued final regulations that adjust the amounts of ERISA civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced under its regulations for inflation by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) for 2019. The adjustments are pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

The 2015 Act requires the DOL to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The adjustments must be based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The DOL explains that the annual inflation adjustments are based on the percent change between the October 2018 CPI-U and the October 2017 CPI-U.

Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the publication of the 2019 civil penalty final regulations has been delayed. The DOL made a pre-published version of the final regulations available for informational purposes only until the official version was published in the Federal Register. Now that the final regulations are published in the Federal Register, the effective date is January 23, 2019. The increased penalty amounts apply to any penalties assessed after January 23, 2019.

For 2019, the adjustments for ERISA civil monetary penalties are in the appendix of the final regulations. The appendix will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.

All of the penalty amounts currently in ERISA Reg. Sec. 2575.2 have increased, according to the final regulations. For example, the failure or refusal to file Form 5500s as required by ERISA Sec. 104 and the failure of a multiemployer plan to certify endangered or critical status under ERISA Sec. 305(b)(3)(C) that is treated as a failure to file an annual report will increase from up to $2,140 per day to up to $2,194 per day.

SOURCE: DOL final regulations, 84 FR 213.

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