Background: DOL and DHS jointly issued a final rule to adjust for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced in connection with the employment of temporary nonimmigrant workers under the H-2B program. As you know, the H-2B program regulations at 29 CFR 503.23(b), (c), and (d) allow for employers to be penalized for violations relating to improper wages, impermissible deductions or prohibited fees and expenses, willful misrepresentation of a material fact in an H-2B application, discriminatory hiring practices, recruitment violations, etc. These penalty adjustments come pursuant to the Inflation Adjustment Act, which requires agencies to make annual adjustments to their civil penalty amounts to account for inflation. Agencies are required to calculate the annual adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Based on the percent change between the October CPI-U preceding the date of this adjustment, and the prior year’s October CPI-U, DOL and DHS have multiplied the most recent H-2B maximum civil monetary penalty amounts by the multiplier, 1.01636, and rounded to the nearest dollar. Accordingly, the maximum civil monetary penalties provided at 29 CFR 503.23(b), (c), and (d) are being increased to $12,135 from $11,940.
- This final rule is effective March 17, 2017. As provided by the Inflation Adjustment Act, the increased penalty levels apply to any penalties assessed after March 17, 2017.
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