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What Can Be Deducted From My Paycheck?

Are you wondering “how much money can be deducted from my paycheck”?

You’re not alone because taxes and other payroll withholdings can be complex, but there are laws governing the process. There are certain withholdings everyone expects to see, such as FICA or federal/state taxes. However, there are other deductions that should raise a red flag.

This article will discuss potential illegal paycheck deductions you may encounter (and how to initiate a wage claim if necessary).

What CAN Be Deducted From My Paycheck?

According to federal law, employers cannot make deductions that would reduce an employee’s gross pay below the minimum wage of $7.25 (higher in some states). That means that if you receive your pay weekly, your employer can’t garnish it below the level of $217.50. Otherwise, most states have wage laws which limit the payroll deductions employers can take from employees’ pay.

Besides tax deductions, some employees may have their pay garnished on behalf of a debt collector. If you owe an outstanding balance to a creditor, it can obtain a court order to garnish your pay. In those circumstances, your employer is legally required to comply with a lawful garnishment and must send your wages to the court for the creditor.

There are lots of times when businesses like to charge for work gear through payroll deductions. If an employee agrees to it (signs paperwork indicating such), then it is lawful in most states to deduct for work-related items such as uniforms, tools, or supplies. Employers cannot deduct these items if the deductions lower the employee’s pay below minimum wage. Nevertheless, be careful with this, and if you see deductions that don’t make sense, bring it to your manager’s attention, or contact us for assistance.

What CANNOT Be Deducted From My Paycheck?

Under various states’ laws, there are items that an employer cannot deduct from your paycheck such as:

  • Pre-employment physicals, drug tests, or medical exams.
  • Business expenses that primarily benefit the company and not the employee.
  • If you work in a restaurant and receive tips (gratuities), the employer cannot deduct tips from hourly pay to where it puts you beneath the minimum wage.
  • An employer cannot deduct from your wages if you worked through a paid break and accrued more hours (including overtime).

If you’d like to learn more about unlawful paycheck withholdings, check out our previous post on the common employer pay practices that violate the law.

Beware Other Forms of Paycheck Manipulation

Unfortunately, there are many ways employees may lose money from their paycheck, either through direct manipulation or mis-classifying one’s work status. Some businesses may cause you to lose pay by treating you as a salaried employee when you should be an hourly employee who is paid overtime. A common example of this is an assistant manager.

We also handle cases where employees lose benefits and pay when the employer treats them like “inside salespersons” or independent contractors, even though their work doesn’t meet the proper legal criteria. It helps to educate yourself on the various job distinctions so that you don’t lose rightfully earned money from your paycheck. You should contact us if you believe your employer has misclassified you in any way.

Call Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC to Resolve All Issues Regarding Unlawful Payroll Deductions

If you’re looking for an experienced wage attorney who can guide you through the complexity of shady wage deductions, then we’re here to help. The Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC handles illegal payroll deduction cases for employees throughout the United States.

Since you shouldn’t have to worry over “what’s being deducted from my check,” we invite you to call us anytime to discuss any wage complaint you may have and determine if we can help you obtain all the money you earned.