Uniform Wage Garnishment Law Proposed

The Uniform Law Commission has proposed its "Wage Garnishment Act." The Commission notes: Currently, every state has a different wage garnishment law and process. This means that employers who do business across multiple states must know and abide by a different, and often complex, law for each jurisdiction. If employers make processing errors calculating garnishments, they may face civil penalties. The Uniform Wage Garnishment Act seeks to simplify and clarify wage garnishments for employers, creditors, and consumers by standardizing how the wage garnishment process works and offering plain-language notice and garnishment calculation forms.

The law simplifies the process of obtaining a garnishment order, which should lower costs, but adds significant protections for consumers. It also resolves many of the problems that have arisen under current law, such as choice of law questions and dealing with multiple garnishment orders. The law, however, applies to only garnishment orders against employers and does not address the problem of garnishment actions against bank accounts that contain primarily wages. Here are a few of the major provisions of the Act, which may be found, here.

  • It streamlines the wage-garnishment process and limits, to the extent possible, the involvement of the courts.
  • It permits a creditor and an employer to agree on the method by which payments will be transmitted to the creditor (including electronically) and it authorizes an employer with several employees being garnished by the same creditor to make a single payment that lumps together sums deducted from all the employees’ earnings.
  • It resolves many choice-of-law issues.
  • It encourages states to increase the level of protection provided to employees within a framework of uniform definitions and procedures.
  • It requires that an employee be given a plain-language notification that explains garnishment and provides helpful information regarding the responsive steps available to the employee.
  • It gives an employee time to act after being notified of a garnishment; deductions from wages cannot begin until the first regular payday occurring more than 30 days after the employee is sent the plain-language notification.
  • It resolves priority issues related to multiple garnishments.
  • It imposes sanctions on an employer that fails to carry out its responsibilities under the
  • act after receiving a notification that it is in default.
  • It precludes an employer from retaliating against an employee because of a garnishment
  • no matter how many times the employee’s wages have been garnished.
  • It imposes sanctions on a creditor that acts in bad faith, including monetary damages and
  • attorney’s fees.
  • It does not displace protections or remedies available under other law.



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