Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
4/24/2024

Chapter 21. Maximum Garnishment Amounts

16VAC15-21-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Disposable earnings" means that part of the earnings of any individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amount required by law to be withheld.

"Earnings" means compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, payments to an independent contractor, or otherwise, whether paid directly to the individual or deposited with another entity or person on behalf of and traceable to the individual, and includes periodic payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program.

"F.M.W.R." means the current federal minimum hourly wage rate set out in the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC § 206(a)(1) or its successor, and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

"Garnishment" means any legal or equitable procedure through which the earnings of any individual are required to be withheld for payment of any debt.

"Ordinary debt" means any debt other than a debt for the support of a person or a debt for taxes, or any other debt for which a different maximum garnishment amount is established by law.

Statutory Authority

§ 34-29 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 17, eff. June 15, 1999.

16VAC15-21-20. Maximum garnishment amounts to satisfy an ordinary debt.

A. No more than 25% of disposable earnings in any pay period may be garnished to satisfy an ordinary debt.

B. A garnishment for an ordinary debt may not reduce disposable earnings for a week to an amount less than the F.M.W.R. times 40; may not reduce disposable biweekly earnings to an amount less than the F.M.W.R. times 40 times 2; may not reduce disposable semimonthly earnings to an amount less than the F.M.W.R. times 40 times 2.16665; may not reduce disposable monthly earnings to an amount less than the F.M.W.R. times 40 times 4.33330; and may not reduce disposable earnings for a period of more than a month to an amount less than the F.M.W.R. times 40 times the number of weeks worked. The number of weeks worked shall be calculated by dividing the total number of days in the period worked by 7, calculated to 4 decimal places.

Statutory Authority

§ 34-29 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 17, eff. June 15, 1999; amended, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 4, eff. December 1, 2005.

16VAC15-21-30. Calculation of maximum garnishment amounts for an ordinary debt.

A. Weekly earnings.

1. If the amount of weekly disposable earnings equals 40 times the federal minimum wage rate (F.M.W.R.) or less, nothing may be withheld for garnishment.

2. If the weekly disposable earnings exceed 40 times the federal minimum wage rate (F.M.W.R.), the maximum amount that can be withheld for garnishment shall be either 25% of the weekly disposable earnings or the amount by which the weekly disposable earnings exceed 40 times the F.M.W.R., whichever is less, so long as the amount withheld does not reduce the weekly disposable earnings below 40 times the F.M.W.R. Based on a federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour, 40 times the F.M.W.R. is $290. Thus, for example, as of July 24, 2009, if the weekly disposable earnings are less than or equal to $290, nothing may be withheld for garnishment. An increase in the F.M.W.R. will increase the amount of weekly disposable earnings that would be shielded from garnishment.

B. Biweekly earnings. The maximum amount which may be withheld for garnishment from biweekly earnings shall be calculated in the same manner as described for weekly earnings in subsection A of this section, except that the corresponding weekly amounts in subdivisions A 1 and A 2 of this section shall be multiplied by 2.

C. Semimonthly earnings. The maximum amount which may be withheld for garnishment from semimonthly earnings shall be calculated in the same manner as described for weekly earnings in subsection A of this section, except that the corresponding weekly amounts in subdivisions A 1 and A 2 of this section shall be multiplied by 2.16665.

D. Monthly earnings. The maximum amount of monthly disposable earnings which may be withheld for garnishment shall be calculated in the same manner as weekly earnings in subsection A of this section, except that the corresponding weekly amounts in subdivisions A 1 and A 2 of this section shall be multiplied by 4.33330.

E. Earnings for a period of more than one month. The maximum amount which may be withheld in garnishment for work periods in excess of one month shall be calculated in the same manner as described for weekly earnings in subsection A of this section, except that the corresponding weekly amounts in subdivisions A 1 and A 2 of this section shall be multiplied by the number of weeks worked. The number of weeks worked shall be calculated by dividing the total number of days in the period worked by 7, calculated to 4 decimal places.

Statutory Authority

§ 34-29 of the Code of Virginia.  

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 17, eff. June 15, 1999; amended, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 4, eff. December 1, 2005; Volume 23, Issue 23, eff. August 23, 2007; Volume 24, Issue 23, eff. August 21, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 2009.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.