New York Garnishment laws & HR compliance analysis

New York Garnishment: What you need to know

A garnishment is an order of a court to an employer (the garnishee) to withhold a sum of money from an employee's earnings for payment of a debt. In New York, garnishments are called income executions. State law draws a distinction between income executions for support obligations and income executions for other kinds of debts.
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There are numerous state and federal laws pertaining to garnishment. Where state law is more restrictive than federal law (i.e., by protecting a greater amount of salary from garnishment), state law will govern. Specific state laws include NY Civil Practice Law Sec. 5241 et seq., concerning income executions for support, and Sec. 5231et seq., concerning income executions for other kinds of debts.
Garnishment is an involuntary procedure in which a court requires an employer to make deductions from an employee's wages in order to repay debts that the employee has not repaid voluntarily. An assignment of earnings is a transaction that an employee enters voluntarily.
Support. The employer receives either an income execution or an income deduction order that specifies the amount to be deducted from the employee's wages. The income execution will contain the caption and date of the order of support, the court in which it was entered, the amount of the periodic payments directed, the amount of the arrears, the nature of the default, and the names of the debtor and creditor. In addition, the income execution will include:
• The name and address of the employer
• The amount of the deductions to be made for current support, and the amount to be applied to the reduction of the arrears
• Notice that deductions will apply to current and subsequent income
• Notice that the income execution will be served upon any current or subsequent employer or income payor unless a mistake of fact is shown within 15 days

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