Workers in California who have to pay up on a debt to a creditor starting on July 1st will not have to try to pay for the expenses necessary for them and their families with an income that is les than the federal minimum wage after the creditor takes wages. Legislators in Sacramento last year adjusted the wage garnishment limit downward to guarantee all workers can count on taking home at least a small but full income.
Earnings have to add up to a living wage. California will limit the amount of money a creditor with an order for a levy on earnings to 25 percent the income left after necessary deductions are made. Or, if a worker's weekly income is near the minimum wages paid for a 40 hour workweek the limit is the amount earned in a week more than a minimum wage times 40 hours. The smaller wage garnishment of the two is the most the creditor is allowed to take.
Currently, a 290 dollar a week income is guaranteed for employees who have their wages garnished after July 1st.
Creditors may not single out debtors unwilling to pay and take large wage garnishment payments. Assemblyman Brian Jones was unable to use his committee and floor positions to keep the old wage garnishment practice that allowed more wages to be taken from low income debtors, and allowed the creditor to lower a debtor's income to below the minimum wage. Democrats in San Diego put a stop to the old practice. Assemblymembers Marty Block, Ben Hueso and V. Manuel Perez and Senators Christine Kehoe and Juan Vargas put their names on the bill's yes list.
Instructions rewritten by the state's Judiciary Council will tell San Diego employers how to lawfully carry out the wage garnishment practice with creditors.
This is a Center Line Policy Alert.