How to Cope with DOL Compliance
Do you want to become more sophisticated about compliance? Take advantage of the Department of Labor's resources and assistance.
Office of Compliance initiatives
Last year, the DOL announced its new Office of Compliance initiatives. Among other things, the OCI will enable DOL enforcement agencies to better utilize online resources to assist employers and employees.
For example, Employer.gov offers answers to questions that employers may have on topics like compensation, benefits, health and safety, posters, nondiscrimination, and small businesses. Worker.gov is an online hub that employees can visit to learn about their federal labor rights, including their right to appropriate compensation, a healthy and safe workplace, and equal treatment. Be sure to tell your employees about these resources, as these sites can drastically cut down on inquiries about payroll and HR.
Also in 2018, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division launched the Payroll Audit Independent Determination program to help employers resolve minimum wage and overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act — quickly and without litigation.
PAID encourages employers to perform wage-and-hour audits and to self-report any violations they uncover. Employers can then collaborate with the WHD to fix the errors and promptly pay any back wages owed to employees.
By participating in the program, you can save on costly penalties and legal expenses, which might otherwise apply if the WHD were to discover the mistakes through its own audit. However, to participate, you must meet certain requirements. For example, you must have FLSA coverage plus a keen interest in settling potential minimum wage and overtime claims, and you must be committed to future compliance under the FLSA.
More information on the PAID program — including how to conduct an FLSA self-audit — can be obtained via the WHD's website.
Self-compliance tool for group health plans
The DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration offers two compliance tools to help employers ensure their benefits program is in accordance with Part 7 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
First, there's a self-compliance tool that lets you determine whether your group health plan is complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, the Newborn's Act, and other health care regulations.
Second, there's a self-compliance tool that lets you verify whether your group health plan is adhering to Affordable Care Act provisions — such as those relating to grandfather plan status, dependent coverage up to age 26 and restrictions on annual dollar limits.
With those two compliance tools, you can proactively evaluate your group health plan and self-correct any deficiencies that you find.