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Voluntary Payments for Creditor Garnishments

Being the person here processing all creditor garnishments, I have been asked the following question. So far, I have been unsuccessful in my search for an answer.

The employee asked, "May I voluntarily arrange for deductions from my pay for a garnishment, when it is not currently in force?"

This question comes from her frustration with the collection company sending these writs. They send writs, I deduct for 60 days and they don't send required "second answers" for a month or two. Then I wait for 2 to 3 months for the Order to Pay. All the while, interest is accumulating on the balance and the majority of her deductions are going to interest instead of reducing the balance.

I have thoroughly read the writ and can find no restrictions regarding this issue. I have found no Washington RCW laws restrictions. I have no problem with doing this for her, as long as I have her request in writing.

Any replies would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • I have only ONCE in my more than 30 years in payroll agreed to a deduction in lieu of a garnishment or child support obligation without being required to and that was for an employee who resided 11 months of the year in Kuwait, and it was his child support for his 16 year-old.

    Other than that, I would NEVER recommend agreeing to process voluntary payments to creditors by means of payroll deduction. The employer is NOT the employee's bank. One remittance check gone astray and the employer gets blamed. There is no reason the employee can't write a personal check during the lag time. Let the employee handle his own bills.

    Just my $.02 (with federal extension :wink: )
  • I agree. You gain nothing from being the employee's bill payer. The only exceptions we have are for voluntary agreements with government agencies. I figure that at least we are getting some tax money back in the coffers with those, but otherwise, we do not honor voluntary wage assignments.
  • Unfortunately, this company has a long history for allowing employees to voluntarily deduct for a plethora of events and reasons. Many times tears work.

    If I deny her request, I'm sure that she will go to our Human Resources people. Then they will have a little talk with my supervisor and he will have a talk with me. I was truly hoping someone on the board would have a legal reason, other than company liability that Patty mentioned, for NOT doing this.

    Thanks so much for your input.
  • Can you approach it from a cost standpoint? The cost of setting up, tracking, and paying remittances, plus time spent answering questions about the deductions, is a cost to your company. If providing this benefit to your employees is important to your company's culture, then cost might not be an issue, but it is dollars straight off the bottom line.
  • The extra time it will take me is shall we say, not a problem, as far as others are concerned. They don't have to do the work and I am exempt.

    Actually there has been NO information provided to the creditor. The employee just wants me to deduct and add these voluntary deductions to the next writ's "second answer" and payment. This will in her mind accelerate the final payment.

    I think that she has contacted the creditor to set up a VWA and they said no. However, I don't know that for a fact.

    Have a great weekend.
  • SuzieQ wrote:
    The extra time it will take me is shall we say, not a problem, as far as others are concerned. They don't have to do the work and I am exempt.

    The issue I use with that argument is opportunity cost. This is a non-value added task. What could you be doing that would be a better use of your time and knowledge.
  • Hang on - now I am interested in the "exempt" thing - Setting up garnishments is non-exempt work - isn't it? If one is exempt, couldn't one delegate the work to someone who is non-exempt? Maybe I am off on this, but there is a cost to this even if all that happens is that hours are added to someone's schedule - and the idea of opportunity cost is valid.
  • SuzieQ wrote:
    The employee just wants me to deduct and add these voluntary deductions to the next writ's "second answer" and payment. This will in her mind accelerate the final payment.

    Most definitely do NOT do that. The WA Second Answer is a very specific document to show what happened during the 60 day period of the garnishment. When you receive it is irrelevant, it still only applies to the garnishment period, so you would be falsifying those records.

    Why not encourage the employee to make payment arrangements with the creditor? If they know the employee is willing to make payments, they can stop the garnishment and then they won't keep getting those fees and interest.
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