Wage garnishment is a device that the courts use in Oregon to ensure that a debtor repays a debt within a reasonable amount of time. In order to set up a wage garnishment, a creditor must usually first ask the court to intervene and determine that the debt is valid. Following a court order, the creditor creates a garnishment with the debtor’s employer. This requires the debtor’s employer to take a specifically allotted amount of money out of each of the worker’s paychecks in order to directly pay the creditor.
The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor states that almost every type of wage can be subject to garnishment. This includes hourly earnings, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and even retirement and pension plan earnings. Tips are the only type of wage that are not considered earnings under the law.
According to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, wage garnishments usually do not exceed 25 percent of an employee’s post-tax earnings. However, no garnishment may leave a debtor with less than $218 per week. In most cases, if a debtor has multiple garnishments, the employer is required to pay them in the order they were received. However, child support and federal and state tax levies usually take precedence, and are required to be paid first.
Employees who are having their wages garnished are offered some protections under the law. The DOL states that employees with a single wage garnishment cannot be fired solely due to the garnishment. However, those with two or more garnishments do not have such protection and can face termination according to the will of their employer.