Federal law limits the maximum amount of garnish wages by one or more garnishment orders at 25 percent of the employee’s disposable earnings for the week, or the amount by which the employee’s disposable earnings for the week exceeds 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less. “Disposable income" is the wages left after payment of all taxes, and national insurances. In other words, with federal minimum wages at $7.25, an employee who earns less than $217.50 a week cannot have his or her wage garnished.
Many states have stipulated maximum thresholds for garnishments lower than the 25 percent provided by federal law.
Some states also have laws that restrict wage garnishments. North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas allow wage garnishment only for debts related to taxes, child support, federally guaranteed student loans, and court-ordered fines or restitution. Florida completely exempts wage garnishments for a person who provides more than half the support for a child or other dependent.
Most state garnishment laws have also exempted certain categories of cash payments from garnishment. Ohio, for instance does not allow garnishment of cash paid to employees as worker’s compensation payments, disability assistance payments, and some other payments.