DC Legal Wage Deductions

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Your wages are the most important part of your job, and knowing your Washington DC wage rights is crucial. It can be difficult to discern which deductions are lawful and unlawful, so it is advisable that you learn about DC legal wage deductions.

Examples of legal deductions that can be taken from an employee’s wages include tax withholdings and any deductions the employee authorizes voluntarily. Deductions authorized by law include child support, alimony, or wage garnishment. Garnishment would take place if there is a court order against someone stating that they owe a third party money, and the garnishment is done through the individual’s employer who deducts some of their pay. Employers in DC are required to provide an itemized statement showing deductions to the employee.

Illegal Wage Deductions

Under DC wage law, an illegal deduction would be anything other than income taxes or court-ordered payments such as child support, alimony, and debts to a third party. Anything else would be illegal, unless it was voluntary on the part of the employee. Illegal deductions could take the form of an employer deducting wages to pay for uniforms or tools that an employee needs to do their job. An employer also may not reduce an employee’s wages just for violating company policy or dock an employee’s pay as a response to poor performance, failing to follow the rules, or things of that kind.

Minimum Net Wage after Legal Deductions

Various laws govern deductions and garnishments of wages, including the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act, which limits the amount that can be garnished in a week. The law says that the creditor garnishing the wages cannot take more than 25 percent of an employee’s disposable income or the amount of an employee’s income that exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is less. In DC, the law limits garnishments to 10 percent of the gross wages that are payable to a debtor from an amount up to $200 and then 20 percent of wages between $200 and $500.

Compensation after an Illegal Deduction

If an employer is not paying an employee everything owed to them, it can violate DC wage law, the Wage Payment and Collection Law, or the Minimum Wage Revision Act. If there has been a violation of DC wage law, the employee would be entitled to the damages recovered, including not just reimbursement for the illegally deducted amount but potentially three times the amount of the deduction. To seek proper redress for an illegal wage deduction, a person should contact either the DC Office of Wage Hour Compliance or a qualified attorney.