Wage garnishments are covered under the Court Order Enforcement Act Section 3 to 5 and the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act Section 13. These acts regulate the percentage that can be deducted from a person’s salary in order to pay a debt in British Columbia.
Percentage of Garnishment
The amount that can be taken from the debtor’s monthly wage can vary depending on certain conditions. It can also be different depending on the creditor’s needs. The percentage can range from 30 to 50 percent.
• Personal Debts
The court can garnish up to 30 percent from the debtor’s wage if the case involves personal debts. This includes amounts owed from personal loans and credit cards. Banks and lending bodies can file for wage garnishment if a debtor does not complete the payment. They can deduct funds from the person’s bank account to cover the debt. However, the debtor can file a financial incapability claim if he or she is not able to pay the amount owed.
• Family Support
The garnished amount can go up to 50 percent of the debtor’s salary if the case involves financial support for a dependent. This can include child support from the debtor. It can also include spousal support.
Wage garnishment for family support is commonly sought by former spouses who take care of their offspring and require financial support from the debtor. However, the debtor can also file a dispute if the amount that the creditor asks for is not agreeable.
Any exemption will be based on the employee’s monthly salary and deductions. It will also depend on the kind of payment the employee receives and if the garnishment order is tax deductible or not. There are also particular exemptions in cases where employees have dependents.
• $100 or less every month for debtors who are single and do not have dependents
• $200 every month for debtors who have one or more dependents
How Can Employers Handle Garnishment Orders
Employers who receive garnishment orders from the local court should take precautionary steps to avoid legal problems. They should consider the order to be important and act on it immediately. These steps will help them avoid unnecessary additional work and missed garnishment deadlines.
• Review the Garnishment Order
Employers should check all information on the order as it could have been sent to the wrong company. He or she should determine if the order is valid and if it contains correct information. There are certain details that can be mistaken. This leaves the company free from garnishment responsibility.
§ Employee and Company Name
The garnishment order is given to a specific employee who is working for a company. This should include the employer’s and the company’s correct and complete names. This is important as there are some companies that have similar names.
If any data on the order seems incorrect or suspicious, the employer should immediately contact the court. This will help employers acquire concrete information on the case. It can also help the garnishee in accomplishing the task on time to avoid additional garnishment orders.
§ Debtor’s Employment at the Company
The employer should make sure the debtor still works for the company. If the debtor is no longer employed, then the garnishee is required to inform the court. The employer should also provide the debtor’s personal contact details in order for the court to communicate with him or her.
§ Wage Interruptions
There are also some instances that interrupt an employee’s salary. This includes leaves of absence, strike or anything that affects the employee’s monthly wage. Any of these should be communicated to the court in order to take necessary actions. Employers should also inform the legal authorities when the employee will receive his or her regular salary again.
• Garnishment Calculation
The next step for the employer after confirming that all information on the order is correct is to calculate the amount to be garnished. This process involves determining the debtor’s salary including all additional pay that can be garnished. There are particular elements in the debtor’s wage that can receive deductions.
§ Entire salary with deductions
§ Additional earnings from bonuses, overtime work, incentives and commissions
§ Sick, holiday and vacation leave pay
§ Employee’s disability benefits
§ Pension contributions and benefits
• Garnished Amount Remittance
Employers are informed where to direct the remittance on the garnishment order. They will find all information needed on the order including the frequency and length of garnishment required. It is important that employers are able to include required information when sending the check for payment.
• Garnishment Exemptions
Those who want to file for a garnishment exemption should provide all important documents that can support their claim. They can bring evidence of their monthly salary and receipts of personal or family expenses. This can include utility bills and mortgage payments. They can also provide evidence showing other loans that influence their ability to pay the debts.
Debtors should immediately file for the exemption as soon as they receive the order. This is because the court usually provides the hearing date after a month or two. Filing the case late will result in a non-exemption as garnishments are usually effective on the next payday.
It is important that debtors who file for garnishment exemptions only provide legally accurate evidence. They should not provide false documents in order to support their claim. This will result in heavier charges including fraud once the court identifies the act.
Any unnecessary expenses that the debtor and his or her family acquire while the case is under investigation will influence the court’s judgment. Unpractical spending will result in non-exemption or a higher percentage of garnishment. These will be determined after thorough investigation of the debtor’s financial status and expenses.
Once the court exempts a debtor from garnishment, his or her salary is then safe from the creditor for a period of six months. The court will issue a fine for a creditor who does not follow this rule and pursues the debtor. However, the court will still investigate the debtor’s financial status during the six month period and will identify if the exemption is still applicable. The creditor can then file for garnishment after the allotted time.
• Garnished Amount
The amount taken from the debtor’s wage should be paid directly to the local court. It should not be paid to the creditor or the employee.
British Columbia laws protect the employee’s job security. It states that the debtor’s garnishment case should not affect his or her employment status. This should not be a reason for termination.
• Disputes Over an Exemption
Debtors should keep in mind that creditors can file a dispute after they have filed an exemption. This is why they should provide only correct evidence to avoid unwanted penalties and fees from the court. Debtors will also find it difficult to defend their claim.
• Legal Advice
It is important for both debtors and creditors to seek legal advice from experts. Debtors should find an experienced lawyer who can help them find effective ways to avoid garnishment summons or reduce the garnished amount. Creditors should also get a skilled lawyer to help them determine the necessary legal actions that can satisfy their interests.
See http://infoaviator.org/finance/credit/bad-credit-in-canada/debt-bad-credit-in-canada/wage-garnishment/2014/11/18/wage-garnishment-laws-in-canada/ for wage garnishment laws in other Canadian provinces.
InfoAviator Publishing is a organization determined to help Canadian consumers understand wage garnishment laws that are currently residing in the cities of (but not limited to) Merritt, Revelstoke, Trail, Castlegar, Quesnel, Nelson, Williams Lake, Terrace, Dawson Creek, Parksville, Prince Rupert, Powell River, Colwood, Salmon Arm, Pitt Meadows, Port Alberni, Fort St. John, Cranbrook, White Rock, Courtenay, Langley, Langford, Campbell River, Penticton, Port Moody, Vernon, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, New Westminster, Prince George, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver in Canada.