Compliance Rules for Out-of-State Garnishments

A frequent bone of contention for employees/debtors has to do with the implementation of out-of-state garnishments. The employee often threatens to sue the employer claiming that an out-of-state garnishment is not valid and/or that the exemption rules of the state where the employee works prohibit creditor wage garnishments. These arguments most often arise from employees working in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. However, no matter where an employee works or resides, these arguments are flat wrong.

WHD Provides Long-Awaited Garnishment Guidance on the Meaning of “Earnings” Under the CCPA

A rare and interesting thing in the world of federal garnishment law has just occurred: the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) updated its published position concerning the meaning of “earnings” pursuant to the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). This is important because the Department of Labor has issued very little regulation interpreting the CCPA and none define what the CCPA means by “earnings.” And, while there are several opinion letters from the years directly after the CCPA was adopted, only one such letter has been issued since 1972. Keep in mind that the federal decision concerning what is or is not CCPA-earnings (such as disability payments, tips and lump sum bonus payments, which are addressed herein) is critical because if the funds are not CCPA-protected earnings then states decide whether to garnish those funds and how much, if any, of those funds to protect from garnishment.

The New Antitrust Guidance: DOJ and FTC Offers Direction to HR Professionals

On October 20, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission issued a guidance aimed at alerting human resources professionals on potential violations of the antitrust laws. According to a DOJ statement, the guidance is intended to “help educate and inform” HR professionals and other professionals who are involved in making hiring and compensation decisions “about how the antitrust laws apply to the employment arena.” However, when reading the guidance you would not be wrong to feel as though the document is more threatening than informative.

Uniform Wage Garnishment Act Approved by Commission

What employer would not like to reduce its legal risks and administrative costs? The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) presented employers with just that opportunity when on July 13, 2016 it finished three years of studying and drafting work and gave approval to the Uniform Wage Garnishment Act (UWGA). The ULC is a 125-year-old organization comprised of commissioners appointed by the 50 states (plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) that drafts laws for the states to consider and adopt where uniformity would improve commerce between states. After the ULC approves a uniform law, such as the UWGA, the commissioners of each state will present the statute for consideration to their state legislature.

What Employers Need to Know About the New State Garnishment Laws, Part II: Tennessee, California, South Dakota, and West Virginia

The requirements and processes applicable to employers handling garnishments are primarily governed by state law—meaning that multi-state employers need to be aware of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) in addition to the garnishment requirements in all states. Complicating matters further, is the fact that state legislatures frequently tweak garnishment requirements and processes.

What Employers Need to Know About the New State Garnishment Laws, Part I: Michigan and Georgia

The requirements and processes applicable to employers handling garnishments are primarily governed by state laws. Therefore, in addition to the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA), multistate employers need to be aware of the garnishment requirements in all states. As if these issues are not enough, complicating it further for employer compliance initiatives is the fact that state legislatures frequently tweak garnishment requirements and processes.  During the past several months, six states have made noteworthy changes to their garnishment laws and two states made major changes. This two part-series covers the changes to the garnishment laws in Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, California, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

Tips for Garnishee Employers, Part Two: A Light at the End of the Tunnel? Relief From Your Woes May Be in Sight

In part one of this two-part series on garnishments, I discussed the consequences employers face if they mishandle garnishment orders. In part two, I address one of the hurdles that employers face when trying to comply with garnishment orders, namely, the variation in garnishment laws from state to state. Creditor wage…..

Know Wage Garnishment Law or Else!

Many employers aren’t aware that a failure to properly administer a garnishment of an employee’s wages can result in employer liability for a significant amount of money. In most states, an employer that makes even the slightest mistake when administering a garnishment (such as being late on a required disclosure)…..

Michigan Electronic Pay Amendment Takes Effect

Effective December 21, 2010, the Michigan Wages and Fringe Benefits Act (MWFBA) was amended permitting Michigan employers to require their Michigan-based employees be paid via direct deposit or via a payroll debit card. Previously, employers had to issue paper checks if the employee did not give his or her “full, free and written” consent to direct deposit. Likewise, unless payroll debit cards were in place prior to January 1, 2005, “full, free and written” consent also was required for use of payroll debit cards.