How much of an employee’s paycheck may be garnished?

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How much of an employee’s paycheck may be garnished?

I had a non-work related accident which required surgery, my benefits through work are short term disability insurance. I was over paid by my employer. The overpayment was their error and I understand they want the money paid back. But is it legal for them to garnish my wages over a certain percent. Example, I get paid every 2 weeks. The gross was $2,400 and after they deducted $1,700, it left $700. After taxes and insurance it left about $500. They should not be able to take out over half of pay at one time. Is that legal?

Asked on September 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) No garnishment is allowed without either a) agreement by the employee, or b) a court order. So if you did not agree to let the employer take out money from your paycheck, they'd have to go to court to do so--they can't simply unilaterally take out money from your check.

2) If they went to court for garnishment, the maximum that can be garnished is a bit under 25% of your salary for a debt like this (it's 25% of the salary remaining after FICA and other deductions mandated by law).

3) So it appears the employer acted improperly; on the other hand, if they are now done (they've taken back all the money), it's probably not worth you taking action about it.


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