DOL sets 2023 penalties for health and welfare benefit plan violations 

January 18, 2023

Employers violating Department of Labor (DOL) regulations — including employee benefit, wage and hour, mine safety, occupational safety and health, and workers' compensation rules — could face stiffer penalties in 2023, thanks to new inflation adjustments. The higher rates apply to penalties assessed after Jan. 15, 2023, for violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2015. DOL rarely assesses the maximum and often waives penalties entirely for failures due to reasonable cause. But the penalty threat is an important enforcement and deterrent tool.

2023 adjustments for health and welfare benefits. The year-over-year inflation increase for 2023 is 7.745%. Annual inflation adjustments are based on the percent change between the October Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI–U) before the adjustment date and the prior year’s October CPI–U. In this case, the adjustment reflects the percent change in the October CPI–U from 2021 to 2022. The following chart shows the 2023 and 2022 maximum (and in some cases, minimum) penalties for certain health and welfare plan violations assessed after Jan. 15.

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