South Carolina Employers Should Be On Alert
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) has begun issuing letters when an employer has not responded to prior wage audit inquiries (Form BPC-178B). The letter says “FINAL DEMAND FOR COMPLIANCE – TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY” and includes a copy of the outstanding wage audit and provides instructions on how to submit the outstanding wage audit via a number of response options (Online, Email, Fax, Mail.) DEW has provided Workforce Solutions with the following statutory/regulatory authority for them to assess such a penalty:
“An employing unit or person who willfully violates a provision of Chapters 27 through 41 of this title or an order, rule, or regulation under this title, the violation of which is made unlawful or the observance of which is required under the terms of these chapters, is liable to a penalty of one thousand dollars, to be recovered by the department in an appropriate civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction, and also is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of not less than twenty dollars but not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not longer than thirty days, and each day the violation continues is considered a separate offense.”
To illustrate the potential financial impact for non-compliance, DEW offers the following example: “If Company A has 20 outstanding unreturned Wage Audit Notices for a period of 100 days past the initial 10-day requested deadline, then there is a potential of $100,000 in penalties if those items were considered a single offence mailed in a single day.” To date, Workforce Solutions has not seen this penalty being assessed, but enforcement of wage audit compliance is increasing and should be taken seriously.
Employers are required to complete the requests online via the IRME (Internet Response Module for Employers) or to complete the Wage Audit Notices manually and mail or fax to the SCDEW FIRE Unit using the contact information provided on the form. Online completion of wage audit notices is done through the South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS), which is a web-based business portal for companies to conduct various transactions with the State. Wage audit completion via email, fax, or mail is done directly through the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). DEW is a partner to SCBOS.