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Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Washington

Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Patrick M. Madden, K&L Gates LLP


  • Upon receiving a child support order, an employer must begin withholding immediately upon receipt of the order and remit the amounts withheld within five days or seven days after withholding, depending on the type of child support withholding order. The amount that may be withheld for child support is limited. Lump-sum payments must be reported. See Child Support Withholding.
  • Upon receiving a writ of garnishment from a creditor, an employer must start withholding nonexempt amounts from the employee's disposable pay. The employer must complete and return the First Answer form provided with the writ within 20 days See Creditor Garnishment Withholding.
  • The Washington Department of Revenue may enforce a tax lien through the garnishment process. Employers may be required to withhold 100% of an employee's earnings. The employer must file an answer to the notice within 20 days, or face the possibility of a default judgment for the full amount claimed in the notice. See Tax Levies.
  • Voluntary wage assignments are generally enforceable, but require spousal consent and can be rejected by an employer if the wage assignment is for less than $300. See Voluntary Wage Assignments.