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ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW DOL AUDIT!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: July 28, 2016

The Department of Labor is out in force and you can’t stop the rampage. After all, they have to subsidize the exchange tax credits somehow, right?! The penalties associated with being out of compliance with the ACA can cause a company to go out of business. The penalty for non-compliance is generally $110 per day, per individual, per violation. But don’t worry, there is a cap – $500,000.
According to a Seattle Business Magazine article, an employer had a surprise audit with only two days’ notice, a team of five DOL Wage and Hour Division investigators came onsite to review company records and interview about 20 person of the workforce, including the executive team and individuals from each department. The investors looked into numerous typical trouble spots including:
• Wage and hour record keeping;
• Ensuring employees were not working “off the clock;”
• Overtime compliance;
• Child labor compliance;
• Proper classification of exempt employees;
• All employees taking required meal and break periods;
• Independent contractor status verification; and
• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) compliance.
A DOL audit can be triggered for a variety of reasons. Some audits can be avoided through careful administrative efforts; other audits are initiated through no fault of your own.
Common triggers for a DOL audit include these preventable causes:
• Participant complaints. If any of your plans’ participants complain to the DOL about potential ERISA violations, your plan will likely be subjected to an audit. For example, according to a DOL audit summary, 775 new investigations in 2013 resulted from participant complaints.
• Incomplete or inconsistent information. The DOL is more likely to investigate a plan that has incomplete answers on the plan’s Form 5500, or if information you report is inconsistent from year to year. But if you have less than 100 employees, you don’t have to worry about filing a 5500, or do you??
Another reason your plan might be selected for a DOL audit is due to the DOL’s national enforcement priorities or projects, which focus investigative resources on certain issues. According to the DOL, the following are areas of heightened importance for audits:
• Major case enforcement. EBSA is focusing on major cases in order to best protect areas that have the greatest impact on plan assets and participants’ benefits.
• Employee contributions initiative. EBSA is focusing on delinquent employee contributions in order to help protect employee contributions to their 401(k), health care and other plans.
In addition to these priorities, the DOL also has several national enforcement projects that receive investigative emphasis:
• Contributory Plans Criminal Project
• Fiduciary Service Provider Compensation Project
• Health Benefits Security Project
• Rapid ERISA Action Team
• Employee Stock Ownership Plans

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
DOL audits can be triggered by negligence or mistakes on your part, or because your plan falls within one of the areas in which the DOL is focusing its investigative efforts. Or, just because. We have heard that the DOL plans to audit every employer sponsored health plan over the next five years.
Regardless of why you are selected for an audit, you need to be prepared. Contact Rapport Benefits Group today for the information you need to avoid DOL triggers, as well as tools to help you prepare for and navigate

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