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Jul 23, 2020

WASHINGTON Q&A: Process wage garnishments as usual

COVID-19Wage and Hour 

Question: I just read that Governor Inslee extended the moratorium on garnishments in Washington. I thought you said the moratorium ended on May 27, 2020, for wage withholding. Which is right?

Answer: As we previously reported, the governor’s moratorium on garnishment of wages for consumer debt did indeed end on May 27, 2020. This means you should have resumed withholding wages for those writs on May 28. Since then, the moratorium has covered only garnishment of bank accounts and is meant to protect CARES Act economic stimulus payments and unemployment payments from garnishment.

To recap the history, Governor Inslee originally issued the temporary moratorium on April 14, 2020, to ease financial burdens on individuals in light of the economic impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus). That order expired on May 14, but was extended twice (by Proclamation 20-49.1, which expired on May 21, and Proclamation 20-49.2, which expired on May 27). During that period, the moratorium applied to both wages and bank accounts. Now the moratorium is only in effect for creditors who seek to garnish an individual’s bank account (Proclamations 20-49.3, 20-49.4, 20-49.5, and currently 20-49.6, which is set to expire on August 1, 2020).

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.

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