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March 17, 2010
How an Employer Calculates a Garnishment for an Employee

In a BLR webinar entitled ‘Payroll: How to Legally Handle Tax Levies and Garnishments’, attorney Clint Robison and attorney Amy Jensen explain how a garnishment can be calculated for an employee. Information provided below regarding maximum garnishments that are applicable to the employee’s earning is provided to the organization in which the employee works:

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  • Weekly earnings of $217.50 or less: No garnishment
  • Weekly earnings of $217.51 - $290: $$ Above $217.50
  • Weekly earnings of $290 or more: Max 25%

These maximum garnishments guidelines are then applied to the employee’s earnings. For example, if an employee’s earnings for the week are $263. The employer takes the required deductions and the disposable earning which remains is $233. Since only the amount over $217.50 may be garnished, where the disposable earnings are $290 or less, $15.50 may be garnished.

In another example, if an employee’s earnings for the week are $402, the employer takes the required deductions and the disposable earning which remain is $368. Since the disposable earnings for the week exceed $290, the garnishment is calculated as follows: 25% x $368 = $92 garnishment.

Clint Robison is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Hinshaw & Culbertson, one of the largest and oldest law firms in the country. He can be reached at Amy Jensen is a senior employment attorney in the firm's Los Angeles office and she can be reached at

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