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As an Employer Do I Really Have to Garnish My Employees Wages for a Student Loan Debt? – Mike

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

Just received an Order of Withholding From Earnings for one of our employees, from ECMC in regards to student loans the employee apparently defaulted on. There is reference to Federal Law and threat to the Employer if we don’t granigh 15% of the employee’s wages. I’m not familiar with this Company and their rights to do this. Can you tell me if they can force this garnishment? Thanks.

Is this a valid Company and can they force my Company to garnish the employee’s wages.


Dear Mike,

Student loans can be collected using an administrative wage garnishment without going to court.

ECMC is a recognized student loan servicer.

My advice would be for you to contact your company attorney if you have any questions about the legitimacy of the request.

Additionally, you might want to notify your employee about this garnishment as soon as possible so they can attempt to deal with it.

As an employer, if you believe the request to be genuine you can be held liable and sued for the debt unless you comply.


Enforcement action against employer for noncompliance with garnishment order.

(a) If an employer fails to comply with § 34.22 to withhold an appropriate amount from wages owed and payable to an employee, we may sue the employer for that amount.

(b) (1) We do not file suit under paragraph (a) of this section before we terminate action to enforce the debt as a personal liability of the debtor.
(2) However, the provision of paragraph (b)(1) of this section may not apply if earlier filing of a suit is necessary to avoid expiration of any applicable statute of limitations.

(c) (1) For purposes of this section, termination of an action to enforce a debt occurs when we terminate collection action in accordance with the FCCS, other applicable standards, or paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

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(2) We regard termination of the collection action to have occurred if we have not received for one year any payments to satisfy the debt, in whole or in part, from the particular debtor whose wages were subject to garnishment.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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