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What is wage garnishment, and how does it work?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2023 | Wage & Hour Laws

Seeing an unusual wage deduction on your pay stub can be upsetting, especially if you do not remember authorizing it. Still, these deductions could be lawful, depending on their purpose, such as garnishments for overpayments and other types of debt.

If you have outstanding debt, your employer might deduct a specific amount from your wages before paying it to your account. These payments will then go to your creditors to cover your overdue debt. However, employers should act appropriately to notify debtors before conducting garnishments. The process could vary, including these basic steps used by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD):

  • Issue a wage garnishment notice listing details relevant to the deduction.
  • You, the debtor, receive 15 days to contest the details in the notice if appropriate.
  • If you do not raise issues or contest the garnishment, the DWD orders your employer to proceed.
  • Once verified, your employer will begin withholding designated amounts from your wages until the indicated debts are paid in full.
  • The garnishment ends when the DWD issues a letter stating that payments are complete.

As the debtor, you should receive adequate notice before seeing garnishments reflected in your pay stub. Reviewing these details is crucial, helping ensure that payment and balance amounts are correct.

Avoiding wage garnishment

Garnishment orders often come from courts or other relevant government agencies. You could avoid being subject to this process by seeking alternative ways to pay your debts. Some debtors could send payments directly to the appropriate creditors or collecting agencies. Other times, it might be more convenient to set up a repayment agreement if qualified.

Nevertheless, you should always check your pay stub for unfamiliar deductions or garnishments. Doing so can help address any discrepancies early and seek out other resolution options if there are any.


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