The state of Washington puts significant restrictions on an employer's right to deduct money from an employee's paycheck. An employer may make deductions for the following items:
• Deductions required by state or federal law (e.g., taxes, Social Security, garnishment orders)
• Deductions specifically agreed upon orally or in writing by the employee and employer
• Deductions for medical, surgical, or hospital care, provided that the deduction is clearly recorded in the employer's books and records (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.48.010, Sec. 49.52.060)
Unless deductions are required by state or federal law or court order, or for a lawful purpose for the employee's benefit, no deduction may result in the employee being paid less than the state minimum wage.
Assignments of wages and garnishments are two types of deductions that may be made from an employee's wages. Although both are for payment of debts, an assignment of wages is usually voluntary and a garnishment is involuntary.
Garnishment. A garnishment is an order of a court or government agency (as distinguished from a voluntary assignment) to an employer to withhold a sum of money from an employee's paycheck for payment of a debt. A $10 deduction for administrative fees is allowed for the first child support payment and $1 for subsequent payments.
Assignment of wages. An assignment of wages is an agreement between an employee and one of his or her creditors, which is usually entered into voluntarily. An employer need not honor an assignment to secure a loan of under $300 ...