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DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2021

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Highlights

  • Annual Updates – The DOL must adjust its civil penalty amounts for inflation each year. 
  • Possible Penalties – The DOL may assess these penalties on employers that violate federal laws that the DOL enforces, such as the FLSA, ERISA, the FMLA and the OSH Act. 
  • Compliance Review – To minimize potential liability, employers should review their compliance with laws enforced by the DOL. 

Effective Date

  • Jan. 15, 2021 – The increased amounts apply to civil penalties that are assessed after Jan. 15, 2021 (for violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2015). 

The 2021 inflation-adjusted civil monetary penalties have been released by The Department of Labor (DOL). Penalties may be assessed on employers for violations of a wide range of federal laws, including:    

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); and
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

To maintain their deterrent effect, the DOL is required to adjust these penalties for inflation, no later than Jan. 15 of each year. Key penalty increases include the following:

  • The maximum penalty for violations of federal minimum wage or overtime requirements increases from $2,050 to $2,074 per violation.
  • The maximum penalty for failing to file a Form 5500 for an employee benefit plan increases from $2,233 to $2,259 per day.
  • The maximum penalty for violations of the poster requirement under the FMLA increases from $176 to $178 per offense.

 

Employers should become familiar with the new penalty amounts and review their pay practices, benefit plan administration and safety protocols to ensure compliance with federal requirements.   


2021 Penalty Amounts

REQUIREMENT

 2020 PENALTY AMOUNT

2021 PENALTY AMOUNT

Wage and Hour

Repeated or willful violations of minimum wage or overtime requirements (FLSA)

Up to $2,050 for each violation

Up to $2,074 for each violation

Violations of child labor laws

Up to $13,072 for each employee subject to the violation

Up to $13,227 for each employee subject to the violation

Violations of child labor laws that cause death or serious injury to an employee under age 18

Up to $59,413 for each violation (doubled to $118,826 if the violation is repeated or willful)

Up to $60,115 for each violation (doubled to $120,230 if the violation is repeated or willful)

Willful failure to post FMLA general notice

Up to $176 for each separate offense

Up to $178 for each separate offense

Violations of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)

Up to $21,410 for each violation

 

Up to $21,663 for each violation

 

Employee Benefits

Failure to file an annual report (Form 5500) with the DOL(unless a filing exemption applies)

Up to $2,233 per day

Up to $2,259 per day

Failure of a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) to file an annual report (Form M-1) with the DOL

Up to $1,625 per day

Up to $1,644 per day

Failure to furnish plan-related information requested by the DOL

*Under ERISA, administrators of employee benefit plans must furnish to the DOL, upon request, any documents relating to the employee benefit plan.

Up to $159 per day, but not to exceed $1,594 per request

Up to $161 per day, but not to exceed $1,613 per request

Failure to provide the annual notice regarding CHIP coverage opportunities

*This notice applies to employers with group health plans that cover residents of states that provide a premium assistance subsidy under a Medicaid or CHIP program.

Up to $119 per day for each failure (each employee is a separate violation)

Up to $120 per day for each failure (each employee is a separate violation)

For 401(k) plans, failure to provide blackout notice or notice of right to divest employer securities

Up to $141 per day

Up to $143 per day

Failure to provide summary of benefits and coverage (SBC)

Up to $1,176

per failure

 

Up to $1,190

per failure

 

Employee Safety – OSH Act

Violation of posting requirement

Up to $13,494 for each violation

Up to $13,653 for each violation

Other-than-serious violation

Up to $13,494 for each violation

Up to $13,653 for each violation

Serious violation

Up to $13,494 for each violation

Up to $13,653 for each violation

Willful violation

Between $9,639 and $134,937 per violation

Between $9,753 and $136,532 per violation

Uncorrected violation

Up to $13,494 per day until the violation is corrected

Up to $13,563 per day until the violation is corrected

 

 

©2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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