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Employer garnishes wages for their accounting error

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? IL
When I was hired, my employer (a privately held firm, with over 200 employees) offered health insurance for me and my family which I accepted. However, during the first 6 months, they forgot to deduct the family insurance from my base salary, but did take health insurance deductions in the column health deductions on my pay stub. So I didn't even realize it. Six months later, when we realized it, they reduced my base salary to cover the cost of family insurance going forward. Now, a year later, they have begun deducting close to 60% from my base salary from each check to make up the difference of the first six months when they didn't charge for family health insurance. They did not send me a letter or explanation of any kind. My paycheck just plumetted. What can I do about this? How much can they deduct per check? Are they in any way responsible for the accounting error? They have put me in a terrible position because now my bills are going to be late and some checks are going to bounce. Please let me know what my recourse is and what to say to them about this issue.


I'm a Northern Girl
If your question is, since it was their error are they legally obligated to eat the mistake and not charge you for it, the answer is no, they are not.

Patty may be able to answer the specifics of your question. If not, you will need to discuss exactly how much they can require of you per paycheck with the state DOL.


Junior Member
Don't know patty

Thanks for the quick reply. I can understand that. I don't know who Patty is. My question now is how much can they take out of each check and should they notify me of this change in writing? Also, does this constitute a breech of employment?


Senior Member
I am Patty. You authorized the employer to take deductions (or salary reductions, in the case of a 125 plan) for health insurance. The company made an error and is now deducting the arrearage. Since you authorized this deduction, they can legally take as much as they want.

I recommend, however, that you contact the HR or Benefits representative to see if a lesser amount can be deducted each pay period.

Having said this, you didn't realize the correct deductions were not being made? When you signed up, certainly you knew the amount? It just amazes me how many people post here that "didn't realize" that they were grossly overpaid, or never had some authorized deductions (or the right amount) made, then are flabbergasted when the company wants their money back.

And, BTW, this is not a garnishment. A garnishment is a court order requiring your employer to withhold from your wages to satisfy a debt to a creditor.
Garnishments are subject to certain withholding limitations. That's not what this is.
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