DOL Announces 2020 Adjustments to ERISA Penalties

On January 14, 2021, the DOL published a final rule adjusting civil monetary penalties under ERISA. The annual adjustments relate to a wide range of compliance issues and are based on the percentage increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) from October of the preceding year. The DOL last adjusted certain penalties under ERISA in January of 2020.

Highlights of the penalties that may be levied against sponsors of ERISA-covered plans include:

  • Failure to file Form 5500 maximum penalty increases from $2,233 to $2,259 per day that the filing is late
  • Failure to furnish information requested by the DOL penalty increases from $159 to $161 maximum per day
  • Penalties for a failure to comply with GINA and a failure to provide CHIP notices increases from $119 to $120 maximum per day
  • Failure to furnish SBCs penalty increases from $1,176 to $1,190 maximum per failure
  • Failure to file Form M-1 (for MEWAs) penalty increases from $1,625 to $1,644 per day

These adjusted amounts are effective for penalties assessed after January 15, 2021, for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015. The DOL will continue to adjust the penalties no later than January 15 of each year and will post any changes to penalties on their website.

To avoid the imposition of penalties, employers should ensure ERISA compliance for all benefit plans and stay updated on ERISA’s requirements. For more information on the new penalties, including the complete listing of changed penalties, please consult the final rule below.

Final Rule »