February 2017
February news & updates

DOL Adjusts Labor Law Penalties for 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a final rule adjusting for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed for violations of a number of federal labor laws. The increases generally apply to civil penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. 

Key Penalty Increases
Penalty increases that may be of particular interest to employers include:

  • FLSA Requirements. Repeated or willful violations of the FLSA's minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to a penalty of up to $1,925 per violation (formerly $1,894);
  • FMLA Posting. Willful violations of the FMLA's posting requirement are subject to a penalty not to exceed $166 for each separate offense (formerly $163) (note: covered employers must post this general notice even if no employees are eligible for FMLA leave);
  • Employer CHIP Notice. Failure to provide employees with an Employer Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Notice is subject to a penalty of up to $112 per day per violation (formerly $110);
  • SBCs. Failure to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) is subject to a penalty of up to $1,105 per failure (formerly $1,087);
  • Form 5500. Failure or refusal to file an annual report (Form 5500) with the DOL is subject to a penalty of up to $2,097 per day (formerly $2,063); and
  • OSH Act Posting. Violations of the OSH Act's posting requirement are subject to a maximum penalty of $12,675 for each violation (formerly $12,471).

New Expiration Date for Employer CHIP, COBRA General, and COBRA Election Notices

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has extended the effective dates of its model  Employer CHIP NoticeGeneral Notice of COBRA Rights, and  COBRA Election Notice through  December 31, 2019. Previously, these model notices expired on December 31, 2016. 
 
No other changes have been made to these notices. For the latest guidance regarding these notices, please visit the DOL's  Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act and  COBRA  Continuation Coverage webpages, or contact the DOL directly at 1-866-487-2365.
Reminder to Employers: Post OSHA 300A Summary
Employers subject to the  recordkeeping requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act are reminded to post the OSHA  Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, between  February 1, 2017 and April 30, 2017. The Form 300A lists the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during the previous year and must be posted even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year. It should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses occurring in the workplace.

A company executive must  certify that he or she has examined the OSHA 300 Log and that he or she reasonably believes—based on his or her knowledge of the process by which the information was recorded—that the annual summary is correct and complete.
Medicare Part D Online Disclosure to CMS Due
The Medicare Modernization Act requires employers that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals to complete the  Online Disclosure Form to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to report whether such coverage is creditable prescription drug coverage (“creditable coverage”). Creditable coverage is coverage that is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.
 
This disclosure is required annually,  no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year—typically  March 1st for calendar year plans—and at  certain other times.
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