What You Need to Know About Wage Deduction in Pennsylvania

Every employee should know state wage deduction laws to prevent employers from taking excessive amounts of employee paychecks. Here are some frequently asked questions about wage deduction in Pennsylvania.

What is the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law?

Pennsylvania’s Wage Payment and Collection Law governs wages, pay periods, deductions, liquidated damages, and the collection of unpaid wages and penalties. The law covers all men, women, and minors employed in Pennsylvania.

Can an employer deduct wages for mistakes in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law does not explicitly address if an employer can deduct wages for mistakes. However, the law does say any deduction must occur for the employee’s benefit. Therefore, the disadvantageous nature of employee mistakes likely voids a Pennsylvania employer’s ability to deduct wages for errors.

Can an employer deduct wages to pay for my required company items in Pennsylvania?

Like mistakes, forcing employees to pay for required company items such as tools or uniforms is not for the employee’s benefit. Consequently, employers cannot make deductions for mandatory company items despite insufficient law addressing the subject.

Can a Pennsylvania employer make non-related tax deductions without my consent?

According to the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), an employee must give the employer written permission to make non-tax-related wage deductions. For example, an employee must provide written authorization for an employer to deduct earnings when the employee has borrowed money or received loans.

What kinds of deductions can an employee consent to in Pennsylvania?

PA Admin. Code Ch. 34, Sec. 9.1 says an employee can consent to the following deductions:

  • Payments into company-owned thrift plans, stock option plans, or purchase plans,
  • Payments into personal savings accounts; Christmas, vacation, or other savings funds; purchase price of U.S. government savings bonds,
  • Charitable contributions,
  • Contributions to local area development activities,
  • Labor organization dues, assessments, initiation fees, and other law-authorized labor organization charges,
  • Repayment to the employer of bona fide loans (the employee must have authorized the deductions in writing at the time the employer made the loan),
  • Payment for the purchase or replacement from the employer of goods, services, facilities, rents, or similar items,
  • Payment for the purchase from third parties of goods, services, facilities, rents, or similar items
  • Employee written authorization of payment certifying, in the Department of Labor and Industry’s discretion, the deduction is proper and conforms with the intent and purpose of the Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Related: How to Win a Wage Claim in Pennsylvania

Does my Pennsylvania employer have to include wage deductions on my pay stub?

Yes, a Pennsylvania employer must include tax deductions and all other employee-authorized deductions as part of pay stub information.

Can I authorize all future wage deductions at once in Pennsylvania?

No, Pennsylvania invalidates any blanket authorizations an employee makes at the time of hiring to cover future deductions.

Can an employer force me to pay for a medical test in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania Statute 43:1002 prohibits employers from requiring an employee or applicant to pay the cost of a medical, physical, or drug examination or furnishing employer-required medical records as a condition of employment. A Pennsylvania applicant or employee must work for the employer for at least one week to qualify. The provision does not apply to situations where the law requires medical examination as a condition of employment.

How much can a Pennsylvania employer deduct from my paycheck?

The wage deduction amount is mainly subject to unique circumstances and any collective bargaining agreement between parties. However, an employer can not make deductions reducing the employee’s gross pay below minimum wage.

Does a Pennsylvania employer have to notify me of a wage deduction in advance?

Yes, PA Admin. Code 34: 231.22 requires an employer to inform an employee before making wage deductions.

When does a new pay rate take effect in Pennsylvania?

An employer who desires to change an employee’s pay rate must provide prior notice of the change any time before the change takes effect. Any work after the day the change takes effect is at the new pay rate.

Does an employer have to maintain wage deduction records in Pennsylvania?

PA Admin. Code 34: 231.31 mandates employers to keep a true, accurate, and legible record of each employee for three years containing various information. Total additions and deductions from each pay period’s wages are part of the required types of information. The employer must maintain a record of the dates, amounts, and types of items comprising the total additions and deductions.

Can a Pennsylvania employer deduct wages for accidentally overpaying me?

Yes, an employer may deduct wages from an employee’s pay to recover an overpayment.

Can I dispute a wage deduction in Pennsylvania?

An employee’s ability to dispute a wage deduction depends on the type. For example, employers are not responsible for tax deductions. However, an employee can fight a deduction if the employer completes the action without employee consent or the deduction amount is incorrect.

Can an employer fire me for disputing a wage deduction in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s at-will status grants employers the ability to fire employees without cause at any time. Yet, an employer cannot fire an employee in retaliation for engaging in a protected action. Any employee who believes wrongful discharge occurred should file a complaint immediately.

When must an employer pay me if I leave my job in Pennsylvania?

An employer who lays off or fires an employee must pay all earned money before the next scheduled payday ends. The law also applies to employees who resign.

Related: Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers in Pennsylvania

How much time do I have to file a claim for an improper wage deduction in Pennsylvania?

According to the DLI, employees who did not receive at least minimum wage or the right amount of overtime pay should try to file a wage claim within two years from the date the employee performed the work. Illegal wage deductions likely apply, as an unlawful deduction could cause an employee to receive incorrect compensation.

Does the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry have to take my wage deduction claim?

The DLI says the agency can refuse to accept a claim for numerous reasons. For example, the agency may deny an improper wage deduction claim because proof the employee consented to the deduction exists.

How long does receiving my money from an incorrect wage deduction take?

An employee with a valid wage claim could receive compensation for an improper wage deduction within days or several months. The speed of the case depends on all factors surrounding the situation.

Can an employer deduct wages if I do not want to work overtime in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania employers can order employees to work overtime and discipline employees who refuse. An employer can terminate an employee who refuses to work overtime but cannot deduct wages as punishment.

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If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Pennsylvania Wage Deduction FAQs, get your free consultation with one of our Employment Attorneys in Pennsylvania today!