DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2020

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently released its 2020 inflation-adjusted civil monetary penalties that may be assessed on employers for violations of a wide range of federal laws, including:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); 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 $2,014 to $2,050 per violation.
  • The maximum penalty for failing to file a Form 5500 for an employee benefit plan increases from $2,194 to $2,233 per day.
  • The maximum penalty for violations of the poster requirement under the FMLA increases from $173 to $176 per each 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.

Employers Must Begin Using New I-9 Form by May 1

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a new version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification. The previous version of this form expired Aug. 31, 2019, but USCIS advised employers to continue using the expired form until a new form was made available.

Transition Period

With the new form, USCIS has also clarified that employers have the option of initially using either the expired or the new Form I-9. However, employers must begin using the new form exclusively by May 1, 2020.

What’s Different?

The paper version of the new form has not changed, but the electronic form shows a few minor changes. Specifically, the new form:

  • Lists additional countries (Eswatini and Macedonia) in the country of issuance field;
  • Clarifies who can act as an authorized employer representative;
  • Updates the USCIS website address;
  • Clarifies the list of acceptable documents;
  • Updates the process for requesting paper versions of the form; and
  • Updates the privacy notice from the Department of Homeland Security.
New Expiration Date

The new Form I-9 was approved by the Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 21, 2019, and has a new expiration date of Oct. 31, 2022.