HR Alert

Virginia Amends Form of Garnishment Summons

Law Amends Portion of Disposable Earnings Subject to Garnishment

A new law in Virginia, effective July 1, 2017, provides that the state-mandated form of garnishment summons will be amended to state that an employee who makes the minimum wage or less for his or her week's earnings will ordinarily get to keep 40 times the minimum hourly wage when such earnings are subject to a garnishment.

Virginia law provides that any garnishment (issued under section: 8.01-511 of the Code of Virginia) must be in the form provided under state law. Click here to view the required content for a form of garnishment summons.

Under the law, an employer may generally take as much as 25% of an employee's disposable earnings to satisfy a garnishment. "Disposable earnings" means the money an employee makes after taxes and after other amounts required by law to be withheld are satisfied. Earnings can be salary, hourly wages, commissions, bonuses, or otherwise, whether paid directly to the employee or not. After those earnings are in the bank for 30 days, they are not considered earnings anymore.

New Law
The new law provides that if an employee makes the minimum wage or less for his or her week's earnings, the employee will ordinarily get to keep 40 times the minimum hourly wage (up from 30 times the minimum hourly wage, as stated in Title 8.01, Civil Remedies and Procedures). The law is intended to reflect the current statutory requirement for exemptions in Title 34. Homestead and Other Exemptions.

The new law also orders the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia to update the form of garnishment summons in accordance with the law.

Note: An employer may withhold a different amount of money from the amounts above if: the employee must pay child support or spousal support and was ordered to do so by a court procedure or other legal procedure (no more than 65% of an employee's earnings may be withheld for support); money is withheld by order of a bankruptcy court; or money is withheld for a tax debt.

Click here to read the text of the new law.

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