I just got a wage garnishment letter. What do I do?

A wage garnishment is just a fancy term for withholding money from an employee’s paycheck to help them pay a debt. Courts can order you to withhold and pay these funds to the appropriate agencies.

So what do you do if you get a garnishment order for one of your employees? 

  1. Read the garnishment papers thoroughly: These time-sensitive papers will be mailed to you, and the instructions will tell you exactly how to process them.
  2. Tell your employee: Make sure they’re aware of their obligation and know the money will be coming out of their paycheck. Usually an extra copy is sent so you can easily hand it to your employee.
  3. Respond to the garnishment: The court may ask you for details about your employee, so be sure to respond with whatever they request by the deadline they set.
  4. Withhold and pay the amount: Determine how much to withhold based on the garnishment order and federal and state laws. Once you land on that amount, send the payments to the right people. If you have any questions, contact the agency that sent you the garnishment.
  5. Learn more: There are federal and state laws that govern garnishments, the max amount you can withhold, your employees’ rights, and more. Check out the Department of Labor for additional info on the federal level, and research wage garnishment laws in your state to cover all your bases. It’s up to you to make sure you do your research and comply with the request correctly.

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