The 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act (the “Act”) includes provisions to strengthen the civil monetary penalties under various federal laws, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). Pursuant to the Act, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) must adjust ERISA’s civil monetary penalties by instituting:
- An initial ‘‘catch-up’’ increase to the penalty amounts, effective Aug. 1, 2016; and
- Subsequent annual adjustments for inflation, beginning in January 2017.
In response to the Act, on July 1, 2016, the DOL issued an interim final rule that increases the civil penalty amounts that may be imposed under ERISA and other federal laws. The interim final rule increases the civil penalty amounts (some rather significantly) for certain failures including, for example, failure to file an annual Form 5500 and failure to provide the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (“SBC”), as required by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).