Q&A with Susan B. Loving
Caution urged for businesses deducting from paychecks
Q: Some employees of a small business buy products from that business and have accounts with it. Can the owner deduct the payments due on those accounts from the employees' paychecks? If they fire an employee who owes them money, can they deduct what he owes from his last paycheck?
A: In Oklahoma, an employer must have specific written authorization from an employee before making deductions from the employee's wages for anything other than deductions required by law or court order. To deduct for the employee's portion of insurance premiums, payments for uniforms, loans or payments on accounts, the employer must have a written payroll deduction agreement signed by the employee. The employer must have this payroll deduction agreement before the check is due to the employee. The employer cannot withhold the check until getting the signed agreement, nor obtain the agreement afterward.
Q: How can owners protect their business from money owed?
A: The best way is to include in employee account papers specific authorization, signed by the employee, to deduct money owed on the account from the employee's paycheck.
Q: What more should small business owners know about state laws regarding employee pay?