The only deductions that may be made from an employee's wages are those that are required or permitted by law.
Required by law. Employers are required to make deductions from employees' wages for federal, state, and local taxes; Social Security withholding (FICA); and court-ordered garnishments (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 36 Sec. 5250 et seq.).
Permitted by law. Employers may, with written authorization from the employee, make deductions for the following (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 629):
• Deductions for insurance premiums, contributions to a 401(k), or other benefit plan
• Loans or advances made by the employer and debts if money benefited the employee ("Debt" means a benefit to the employee, and does not include items incurred by the employee in the course of the employee's work or dealing with customers on the employer's behalf, such as cash shortages, inventory shortages, dishonored checks, dishonored credit cards, damages to the employer's property in any form, or any merchandise purchased by a customer. Debt does not include uniforms, personal protective equipment, or other tools of the trade that are considered to be primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer.)
• Merchandise purchased from the employer
• Rent, light, or water expense of a company-owned house or building
A wage assignment is not valid unless recorded in the office of the Maine Secretary of State. An employer need not honor any assignment of wages unless it receives actual notice (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 627).
Assignments of wages for child support obligations have priority over other assignments. There is additional information on wage garnishment.