Pension & Benefits News DOL issues annual adjustments to penalties for 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

DOL issues annual adjustments to penalties for 2021

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule to adjust the amounts of civil penalties assessed or enforced under its regulations. Those adjustment amounts pertain to regulations enforced by the DOL’s EBSA, Wage and Hour Division, OSHA, and other agencies.

Inflation Adjustment Act. The Inflation Adjustment Act requires the DOL to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The Inflation Adjustment Act provides that agencies shall adjust civil monetary penalties notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act. Additionally, the Inflation Adjustment Act provides a cost-of-living formula for adjustment of the civil penalties. Accordingly, the final rule sets forth the DOL’s 2021 annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties.

Adjustments enforceable by EBSA. Some of the other current and adjusted penalty amounts enforceable by the EBSA are as follows:

  • For the failure to furnish reports such as pension benefit statements to certain former participants and beneficiaries or to maintain records, up to $31 per employee (same as 2020);
  • For the failure or refusal to file an annual report, up to $2,259 per day, up from $2,233;
  • For the failure to provide the Secretary of Labor requested documentation not to exceed a per-request maximum, up to $161 per day, not to exceed $1,613 per request, up from $159 per day, not to exceed $1,594 per request.
  • For the failure of a multiple employer welfare arrangement to file a report, up to $1,644 per day, up from $1,625;
  • For the failure to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage, up to $1,190 per failure, up from $1,176;
  • For the failure to provide notices of blackout periods and of right to divest employer securities, up to $143 (each statutory recipient a separate violation), up from $141; and
  • For de minimis failures to meet genetic information requirements not corrected prior to a notice from the Secretary of Labor, a minimum of $3,005, up from $2,970.

FMLA penalty adjustments. Section 109(b) of the FMLA, as amended, and existing 29 CFR 825.300(a)(1) provide for assessment of a civil money penalty for each willful violation of the FMLA’s posting requirement. This penalty has increased from $176 to $178 for each separate offense.

SOURCE: 86 FR 2964, January 14, 2021.

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