As of Jan. 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) increased penalties for violating federal minimum wage, overtime, and posting and safety requirements. The increased monetary fines apply to penalties assessed under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

What’s the reason for the increase?

The DOL and other federal agencies must issue annual adjustments to penalty amounts in order to account for inflation, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

What do the federal agencies and regulations cover?

Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)

This applies to most private employers and prohibits them from using lie detector tests for pre-employment screening or during employment. To learn more about the EPPA, click here.


This federal law establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards that affect full and part-time employees in the private sector as well as federal, state, and local governments. There’s a lot more that goes in to FLSA, so you’ll want to read more on it here.


This allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, but job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. It also requires the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. More on FMLA here.


Enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this law requires compliance with the act’s standards to provide employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards. Employers in specified low risk industries are exempt. FindLaw has a quick breakdown of OSHA here.

What are the increased penalties?


The penalty for violations of the EPPA increased to $21,039. That’s up from $20,521.


According to the DOL, employers that repeatedly or willfully violate federal minimum wage or overtime requirements will receive a maximum monetary penalty of $2,014. That’s up from $1,964.

Violations of the FLSA’s child labor restrictions increased to a maximum of $12,845 per under-18-year-old employee.


If you are covered by the FMLA, you’re required to post a notice (in a conspicuous place) explaining the rule’s provisions and information regarding the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division. Failure to comply with this posting requirement increased from $169 to $173.


According to the DOL, the maximum penalty for violations of safety standards classified as series and ‘other-than-serious,’ and posting violations increased from $12,934 to $13,260 per violation.

For failure to abate violations, they increased from $12,934 to $13,260 per day.

Minimum penalties for willful violations increased from $9,239 to $9,472. Maximum penalties for willful violations are up to $132,598 from $129,336.

The maximum penalty for repeat violations increased to $132,598. That’s up from $129,336.

You can read the DOL’s final rule on all penalties by clicking here.

Want to minimize potential penalty liability?

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It's simple — we’ll do the research for you and automatically send you updated posters whenever changes occur (like now). Sign up and we’ll provide the following mandatory posters:

  • Minimum Wage Compliance
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

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Disclaimer: Please note that this Q&A is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.