Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

May 21, 2020

WASHINGTON: Garnishment moratorium extended

COVID-19Wage and Hour 

On May 15, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee announced that the Washington Legislature agreed to extend the temporary moratorium on garnishment for consumer debts that was imposed by the governor’s Proclamation 20-49. The original proclamation expired on May 14, 2020, but the revised version (Proclamation 20-49.1) extends the moratorium until 11:59 p.m. on May 21, 2020.

There’s a push to extend the moratorium beyond May 21. A May 14 letter from the Legislature indicates there’s ongoing debate over how long the moratorium should last. The governor, with support from the House and Senate majority leaders, favors extending the moratorium to June 15, but House and Senate minority leaders agreed to extend the deadline only to May 21 for now, to allow time for discussion.

Tips For Employers: As we previously reported, the order prohibits withholding from a worker’s wages for any consumer debt garnishment while the moratorium is in place. If you’ve processed any payroll and inadvertently withheld money from disposable earnings for a consumer debt garnishment since the moratorium took effect on April 14, return that money to the worker. Keep in mind that this moratorium doesn’t affect other types of withholding orders such as child support orders, tax levies, or administrative wage garnishments. Continue withholding for those as you normally would.

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.