29 CFR 2560.502c-8 - Civil penalties under section 502(c)(8).

§ 2560.502c-8 Civil penalties under section 502(c)(8).
(a) In general.
(1) Pursuant to the authority granted the Secretary under section 502(c)(8) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (the Act), the plan sponsor (within the meaning of section 3(16)(B)(iii) of the Act) shall be liable for civil penalties assessed by the Secretary under section 502(c)(8) of the Act, for:
(i) Each violation by such sponsor of the requirement under section 305 of the Act to adopt by the deadline established in that section a funding improvement plan or rehabilitation plan with respect to a multiemployer plan which is in endangered or critical status; or
(ii) In the case of a plan in endangered status which is not in seriously endangered status, a failure by the plan to meet the applicable benchmarks under section 305 by the end of the funding improvement period with respect to the plan.
(2) For purposes of this section, violations or failures referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall mean a failure or refusal, in whole or in part, to adopt a funding improvement or rehabilitation plan, or to meet the applicable benchmarks, at the relevant times and manners prescribed in section 305 of the Act.
(b) Amount assessed. The amount assessed under section 502(c)(8) of the Act for each separate violation shall be determined by the Department of Labor, taking into consideration the degree or willfulness of the failure or refusal to comply with the specific requirements referred to in paragraph (a) of this section. However, the amount assessed for each violation under section 502(c)(8) of the Act shall not exceed $1,100 a day (or such other maximum amount as may be established by regulation pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended), computed from the date of the plan sponsor's failure or refusal to comply with the specific requirements referred to in paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) Notice of intent to assess a penalty. Prior to the assessment of any penalty under section 502(c)(8) of the Act, the Department shall provide to the plan sponsor of the plan a written notice indicating the Department's intent to assess a penalty under section 502(c)(8) of the Act, the amount of such penalty, the period to which the penalty applies, and the reason(s) for the penalty.
(d) Reconsideration or waiver of penalty to be assessed. The Department may determine that all or part of the penalty amount in the notice of intent to assess a penalty shall not be assessed on a showing that the plan sponsor complied with the requirements of section 305 of the Act, or on a showing by the plan sponsor of mitigating circumstances regarding the degree or willfulness of the noncompliance.
(e) Showing of reasonable cause. Upon issuance by the Department of a notice of intent to assess a penalty, the plan sponsor shall have thirty (30) days from the date of service of the notice, as described in paragraph (i) of this section, to file a statement of reasonable cause explaining why the penalty, as calculated, should be reduced, or not be assessed, for the reasons set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. Such statement must be made in writing and set forth all the facts alleged as reasonable cause for the reduction or nonassessment of the penalty. The statement must contain a declaration by the plan sponsor that the statement is made under the penalties of perjury.
(f) Failure to file a statement of reasonable cause. Failure to file a statement of reasonable cause within the thirty (30) day period described in paragraph (e) of this section shall be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to appear and contest the facts alleged in the notice of intent, and such failure shall be deemed an admission of the facts alleged in the notice for purposes of any proceeding involving the assessment of a civil penalty under section 502(c)(8) of the Act. Such notice shall then become a final order of the Secretary, within the meaning of § 2570.161(g) of this chapter, forty-five (45) days from the date of service of the notice.
(g) Notice of determination on statement of reasonable cause.
(1) The Department, following a review of all of the facts in a statement of reasonable cause alleged in support of nonassessment or a complete or partial waiver of the penalty, shall notify the plan sponsor, in writing, of its determination on the statement of reasonable cause and its determination whether to waive the penalty in whole or in part, and/or assess a penalty. If it is the determination of the Department to assess a penalty, the notice shall indicate the amount of the penalty assessment, not to exceed the amount described in paragraph (c) of this section. This notice is a “pleading” for purposes of § 2570.161(m) of this chapter.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, a notice issued pursuant to paragraph (g)(1) of this section, indicating the Department's determination to assess a penalty, shall become a final order, within the meaning of § 2570.161(g) of this chapter, forty-five (45) days from the date of service of the notice.
(h) Administrative hearing. A notice issued pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section will not become a final order, within the meaning of § 2570.161(g) of this chapter, if, within thirty (30) days from the date of the service of the notice, the plan sponsor or a representative thereof files a request for a hearing under §§ 2570.160 through 2570.171 of this chapter, and files an answer to the notice. The request for hearing and answer must be filed in accordance with § 2570.162 of this chapter and § 18.4 of this title. The answer opposing the proposed sanction shall be in writing, and supported by reference to specific circumstances or facts surrounding the notice of determination issued pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section.
(i) Service of notices and filing of statements.
(1) Service of a notice for purposes of paragraphs (c) and (g) of this section shall be made:
(i) By delivering a copy to the plan sponsor or representative thereof;
(ii) By leaving a copy at the principal office, place of business, or residence of the plan sponsor or representative thereof; or
(iii) By mailing a copy to the last known address of the plan sponsor or representative thereof.
(2) If service is accomplished by certified mail, service is complete upon mailing. If service is by regular mail, service is complete upon receipt by the addressee. When service of a notice under paragraph (c) or (g) of this section is by certified mail, five days shall be added to the time allowed by these rules for the filing of a statement or a request for hearing and answer, as applicable.
(3) For purposes of this section, a statement of reasonable cause shall be considered filed:
(i) Upon mailing, if accomplished using United States Postal Service certified mail or express mail;
(ii) Upon receipt by the delivery service, if accomplished using a “designated private delivery service” within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. 7502(f);
(iii) Upon transmittal, if transmitted in a manner specified in the notice of intent to assess a penalty as a method of transmittal to be accorded such special treatment; or
(iv) In the case of any other method of filing, upon receipt by the Department at the address provided in the notice of intent to assess a penalty.
(j) Liability.
(1) If more than one person is responsible as plan sponsor for violations referred to in paragraph (a) of this section, all such persons shall be jointly and severally liable for such violations.
(2) Any person, or persons under paragraph (j)(1) of this section, against whom a civil penalty has been assessed under section 502(c)(8) of the Act, pursuant to a final order within the meaning of § 2570.161(g) of this chapter, shall be personally liable for the payment of such penalty.
(k) Cross-reference. See §§ 2570.160 through 2570.171 of this chapter for procedural rules relating to administrative hearings under section 502(c)(8) of the Act.
[75 FR 8800, Feb. 26, 2010]

Title 29 published on 2013-07-01

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