A garnishment is an order of a court to an employer to withhold a sum of money from an employee's earnings for payment of a debt. The state of Minnesota draws a distinction between garnishments for support obligations and those for other kinds of debts.
There are numerous state and federal laws pertaining to garnishment. Where state laws are more restrictive than federal laws (i.e., by protecting a greater amount of salary from garnishment), state laws will govern. The Minnesota laws on support garnishments are found at MN Stat. Sec. 518A.26et seq. The laws on garnishments for other kinds of debts are found at Sec. 571.71et seq., and the new hire law is found at Sec. 256.998.
Garnishment vs. wage assignment. Garnishment and assignment of wages are both methods of deducting money from an employee's earnings to repay his or her debts. Garnishment is an involuntary procedure that is usually conducted when the employee has not paid his or her debts voluntarily. Assignment of wages may be a voluntary proceeding in which the employee agrees to the deduction.