According to CreditCards.com, wage garnishment is a practice meant to cause a dent in a debtor’s confidence and income by taking a percentage from the individual’s paycheck each month. Credit card companies, in an attempt to recover unpaid credit card debt or dues, may engage in wage garnishing by taking monies out of an employee’s paycheck. David Cherner, the former director of state government affairs for the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals International, told CreditCards.com that in most states, wage garnishment can only be initiated by a court order.
In Illinois, according to the Illinois State Legislature, wage garnishment may only be initiated if a debt is owed for more than 40 days and the individual has continued to default even after a notice has been served and warns the debtor that wage garnishment will ensue. The actual practice cannot begin in less than 20 days before this notice of intention has been served to the employee.
There are federal regulations to wage garnishment as well. Noted by the U.S. Department of Labor, past-due child support, bankruptcy, or federal or state tax debts may incur a greater percentage of wage garnishment than private debt collectors, like credit card companies. Regardless, an employee has several rights regarding wage garnishment—the most important being that he or she may not be fired or expelled from work because of wage garnishment for any single debt. Unlike workers’ compensation, notices regarding wage garnishment rules need not be posted in a place of business.
The number of wage garnishment cases spiked in the wake of the 2008 recession. In 2010, The New York Times reported that although national statistics were unavailable, pay seizures rose 121 percent in Phoenix in a five-year period, and 55 percent in Atlanta in a six-year period.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of illegal wage garnishment in Illinois or would like to speak with a professional about your options, do not go through it alone. Contact the Miller Law Firm today.