You Should Know…The Department of Labor Ramped up Potential Penalties for Most Benefit Plans for 2017

As a reminder, in 2015 Congress enacted legislation requiring a substantial increase in the penalties for a wide-range of employee benefit plan related violations. See our previous blog post for more background information on these changes. The initial spike in the amount of civil penalties were designed to be a “catch-up” adjustment to be followed by annual adjustments made on or before January 15, beginning in 2017. On January 18, 2017, the DOL made its annual adjustments for 2017 for assessments made after January 13, 2017 for violations occurring after November 2, 2015. All the adjustments can be found in the Federal Register.

The 2017 adjustments are not as shocking as the catch-up adjustments, but include the following noteworthy increases.


As noted in our previous blog posts, it may be possible to obtain relief from some of these penalties. But, it is never wise to rely on a waiver of any penalty. To help reduce your exposure to these potential penalties, it’s important that you implement policies and procedures that will ensure compliance with your recordkeeping, filing and furnishing requirements.