Wage Garnishment

Wage Garnishment is a process of deducting money from the employee salary in order to pay back his/her creditors by the order of court of law. In the United States such payments are limited by federal law to 25 percent of the disposable income that the employee earns. Garnishments can be taken for any type of debt but common examples of debt that result in garnishments include:

  • Child support
  • Taxes
  • Unpaid court fines
  • Any other type of money judgment

State and Federal Law

Garnishment is governed by state or federal law depending on what the debt entails. However whether governed by state or federal law both provides greater exemption i.e. allowing major amount of wage to be kept with employee.

Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)

Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) protects employees from being discharged by their employers because their wages have been garnished for any one debt and limits the amount of employees’ earnings which may be garnished in any one week. Title III applies to all individuals who receive personal earnings and to their employers. Personal earnings include wages salaries commissions bonuses and income from a pension or retirement program but do not ordinarily include tips.

Title III is administered and enforced by the Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division

Title III further states that violation of the provision may result in reinstatement of the discharged employee with back pay and the restoration of improperly garnished amount.


Where violations cannot be resolved through informal means court action may be initiated to restrain and remedy violations. Employers who willfully violate the discharge provisions of the law may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $1 000 or imprisoned for not more than one year or both.

Here one of the most important things to remember about wage garnishment is ‘don’t ever ignore it’. ‘Don’t even delay it’. This applies to anyone involved in the process.

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