Q. If an employee owes us money, can we collect it through deductions from his wages?
A. Yes, according to the general rule under Florida and federal law. As long as an employer has the employee’s signed, written authorization to deduct designated amounts from wage payments for such debts—and those deductions don’t reduce the employee’s hourly rate for the work week below the statutory minimum wage—such deductions can be made.
(Sections 110.114 and 112.171 of the Florida Statutes specifically authorize such a procedure for employees of public agencies.)
Beware, however, if you have employees in other states. Many states have their own restrictions, prohibitions and specific procedures for employee wage deductions.
Because of the legal technicalities, you should ask your employment and tax attorneys for advice. Let your lawyer draft any policies, authorizations and agreements for such deductions.