Training For California Garnishment Law Requirements

Training For California Garnishment Law Requirements

California Wage Garnishment RulesWhat Is A Garnishment?

A wage garnishment is any legal or equitable procedure through which some portion of a person's earnings is required to be withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt.

The six basic types of garnishments are child support, federal, state, or local levies, creditor garnishments, and student loans, with the largest amount of garnishments being for child support.

Employer Guidelines For Handling Garnishments

Employers generally have to notify the debtor in writing that a wage garnishment is about to start before making a garnishment and sending payments to the creditor. The wage garnishment then typically continues until the debts are paid off or otherwise resolved. Employers are required to provide employees with a copy of garnishment paperwork.

California Wage Garnishment Rules

California creditors cant garnish more than 25% of an employee's wages after deductions. For any given work week, creditors are allowed to garnish the lesser of 25% of disposable earnings or the amount by which weekly disposable earnings exceed 40 times the state hourly minimum wage. "Disposable earnings" are those wages left after required deductions.

Employers must withhold the amount required by a withholding order from all earnings payable for any pay period that ends during the withholding period. Employers must begin withholding from wages by the 10th day after an order is served and continue to withhold until the earliest of: the date the full amount required to satisfy the order is withheld, the date specified in the order, or the date specified in a notice of termination.

Employers must pay to the designated levying officer the amount withheld from wages no later than the 15th day of each month. Each monthly payment must include the amount withheld from earnings up to the close of the pay period ending closest to the last day of the preceding calendar month.

Employers can elect to pay the amount withheld more frequently than monthly. If more frequent payments are made, employers must pay the amount withheld for each pay period no later than 10 days after the close of the pay period.

Employers will periodically receive written notice of the amount required to satisfy a withholding order and will have to determine the total amount to withhold based on the notice.

About Child Support Garnishments

With regard to child support garnishments, all states are required to use the "Order/Notice To Withhold Income For Child Support" notice for Child Support. This notice is designed to provide employers with key information so that they do not have to decipher unfamiliar orders/notices from different states. Click here for details on this notice, and see below for suggested steps to process this notice.

Suggested Steps To Process The Income-Withholding Order/Notice

Upon receipt of the Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support, the employer should:
  • Document the date of receipt
  • Determine if the order is "regular on its face" (that is, it appears to be an authentic and complete legal document)
  • Provide a copy of the Order/Notice to the employee if it has been issued by another state, and
  • Follow the terms of the order
Employers should note that they cannot contest the income-withholding order; however, the employer should contact the issuing agency if unable to implement the withholding either because the individual named in the order is not an employee or a withholding is already in place for the child and employee. Additionally, employers should note that states often have varying garnishment rules, so they should be sure to know the payroll wage garnishments rules for the state(s) in which it does business.

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References and Disclaimers

This information is based on a variety of state laws and regulations, and is subject to change. The PayrollTrainingCenter makes every effort to make sure this information is current and accurate, however, the PayrollTrainingCenter is not engaged in rendering legal or professional advice and shall not be held responsible for any inaccuracies contained herein.
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