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DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2019


On Jan. 23, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) increased the civil penalty amounts that may be imposed on employers under the following federal laws:

  • 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 (OSHA).

To maintain their deterrent effect, the DOL is required to adjust these penalties for inflation, no later than Jan. 15 of each year. The DOL’s civil penalty adjustments for 2019 were delayed due to the federal government shutdown.

These increased amounts apply to civil penalties that are assessed after Jan. 23, 2019.

Action Steps

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.


1. The DOL must adjust its civil penalty amounts for inflation each year.

2. The increased amounts apply to penalties that are assessed after Jan. 23, 2019.

3. To minimize potential liability, employers should review their compliance with laws enforced by the DOL.


This Compliance Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.

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