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The HR burden of administering garnishments

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Q. We have received garnishment orders for several employees. This could pose an administrative burden on our small HR department. What can we do to reduce this burden?

A. California law requires employers to garnish an employee’s wages pursuant to a valid earnings withholding order. To offset the administrative costs of administering such withholding orders, employers may deduct $1.50 from a worker’s pay for each payment made pursuant to such a withholding order.

Employers are prohibited from discharging an employee because a wage garnishment has been threatened or because a garnishment has occurred for the payment of one judgment. Employers may discharge an employee for garnishments for multiple judgments other than child support. You should consult an attorney before discharging an employee, even in cases of multiple garnishments. 

Except for child or spousal support, the maximum amount that can be garnished is the lesser of:

  1. 25% of the employee’s disposable earnings for the week
  2. The amount by which the employee’s disposable earnings for the week exceeds 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage (currently $5.85 per hour).

Failure to comply with the withholding orders may subject the employer to civil penalties and attorneys’ fees.

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