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On the Mark #17

On the Mark! is a special publication series for staff responsible for labor standards administration and enforcement. Its purpose is to share streamlining tips and other useful innovations that enhance job performance and results. Any suggestions or comments you may have for On the Mark! are welcome. Please contact us by email.


What's new about CWHSSA liquidated damages? 


Did you know that DOL has adjusted the amount for liquidated damages?

On November 2, 2015,  the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 was signed into law to advance the effectiveness of civil money penalties and to strengthen their deterrent effect. Outdated penalties are a problem because civil penalties are less effective when they do not keep pace with the cost of living. Penalties deter violations of the important laws that we enforce, which not only result in safer, more productive workplaces, but also in a more level playing field for responsible employers who have to compete with the minority who try to save money by evading the law. That is why this law modernizing many penalties that have long lost ground to inflation is critical.

The new law directs agencies across the federal government to adjust their penalties for inflation each year in January. Additionally, it directs all agencies to issue a “catch up” penalty adjustment, which must be effective by August 1, 2016. Congress capped the “catch up” increase at 150 percent of the current penalty to ensure that these increases are reasonable and manageable. NOTE: This description of liquidated damages is for violation of labor laws and is not the same as liquidated damages for failure of the contractor to complete the project on time.

Type of Violation

Statutory Citation

CFR Citation

Maximum Civil Monetary Penalty before 8/1/2016

Maximum Civil Monetary Penalty after 8/1/2016

(1) Failure to pay laborers and mechanics at a rate not less than one and one-half times their basic rate of pay.

40 USC 3702(c)

29 CFR 5.8(a) and 29 CFR 5.5(b)(2)



Please contact the HUD Labor Standards and Enforcement staff for your area if you have any questions about labor standards requirements in HUD programs.  Here is a list including the jurisdictions they serve, and contact information of the Labor Standards and Enforcement field staff.