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News Release

EBSA Press Release: Labor Department Invites Comments On Proposal To Raise Penalties Under ERISA

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

For more information call: (202) 219-8921

The U.S. Department of Labor has asked for public comments on a proposed rule to adjust for inflation penalties imposed on plan administrators and fiduciaries who violate certain provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Since 1990, $56,391,000 in civil monetary penalties have been collected under these provisions. The proposed penalty increases are required by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996.

The rule published by the Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA)proposed changes in the amounts for seven civil penalties under ERISA. The civil penalty amounts would be adjusted as follows:

  • To $11 from $10 per employee for failure to furnish or maintain certain plan records;
  • Up to $110 a day from $100 for failure to:
    • notify plan participants and qualified beneficiaries of group health benefits under COBRA;
    • notify participants and beneficiaries regarding an employer's failure to meet the minimum funding requirements for a pension plan;
    • notify participants, beneficiaries and others regarding qualified transfers of excess pension assets to a health benefits account; and
    • provide required information in a timely manner upon request by a participant or beneficiary, and
  • Up to $1,100 from $1,000 for failure or refusal to file an annual report of an employee benefit plan.

The civil monetary penalties were established under ERISA to encourage employee benefit plan administrators and other plan fiduciaries to comply with the law.

The proposed increases in penalty amounts will apply only to violations occurring after the date the final rule becomes effective.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
April 21, 1997
Release Number