More wages will be protected from garnishment

By Sam Calvert, Attorney At Law |

Blog by Sam Calvert, Attorney at Law

The Minnesota Legislature recently passed a small but helpful change in the garnishment law. Formerly the amount which was protected from garnishment for regular debts (child support has different rules) was the larger of:

 a)  40 times the federal minimum wage;  or b)  three-fourths of the total wages minus amounts required by law to be withheld.

Since the federal minimum wage is $7.25, that meant the first $290 per week was protected from garnishment.

The change in the law is to make the amount protected the larger of:

 a)  40 times the federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage for large employers, whichever is more; or

 b)  three-fourths of the total wages minus amounts required by law to be withheld (basically, your "take home wages" other than voluntary withholdings).

Since the state minimum wage for large employers is $9.50 per hour, that means that the first $380 per week is protected from garnishment.

An example:

Under the old law, if your take home wages were $400 per week, the garnishing creditor could get $100 from your paycheck. Under the new law, if your take home wages are $400 per week, the garnishing creditor can get $20.

This is not a earthshaking change, of course, but it will help a bit. The trade-off for this raise is that garnishments used to run for 70 days; they now run for 90 days.

This law is effective August 1, 2020.

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