The Payroll Department has had a lot of experience with wage garnishments. Garnishments are not something that employers or payroll services decide to do on their own. We receive official notification and are required to comply, even if an employee objects.
Why would employment wages ever be garnished? There are many reasons, but four of the most common are as a result of:
- delinquent child support or maintenance payments from a divorce settlement
- unpaid taxes
- non-payment of a loan or debt
- eviction settlement from former landlord
Wage garnishments are usually not a surprise to employees – or at least they shouldn’t be. A garnishment order is usually issued from a court of law and the employee should be well aware of on-going legal proceedings or litigation. It is possible that if a person elects to not participate in the court proceedings, they may not know of the final court orders issued the day of the decision. Notification will be sent to the employee just like it is sent to the employer.
Employees sometimes think that the employer has control over human resources and the payroll and therefore, any garnishment. However, in the case of a garnishment, neither the employer nor the payroll provider has any control. The garnishment orders state exactly:
- how much should be deducted from wages
- when deductions should begin
- when deductions will end (with a termination notice)
- where to send the funds deducted
The money is not held by the payroll service or the employer. The Payroll Department sends the funds directly to the office or department as ordered on the notification.
If you are an employee who has received a paycheck at the end of the work week with a new deduction for a garnishment, the employer will have notification requiring the deduction, but he has no power to stop or suspend payments. Changes can only be ordered by a court, just like the original order. Likewise, removing a garnishment deduction requires the court to make that determination and issue the order, triggering new notifications to the workplace and changes to the payroll.
So don’t get mad at the boss, or the payroll service. They are just complying with the laws.
-Elaine of The Payroll Department Blog Team