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DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2020

On Jan. 15, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) 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; and
  • The maximum penalty for violations of the poster requirement under the FMLA increases from $173 to $176 per each offense. 

Download this SSG Compliance Advisor to see the full 2020 Penalty Amounts Chart Comparison.

Effective Date

JANUARY 15, 2020
The increased amounts apply to civil penalties that are assessed after Jan. 15, 2020 (for violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2015). 


  • 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.

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.

Download the full SSG Compliance Advisor.