Deductions from Pay

What deductions are allowable from a paycheck?

Find the category below that best describes the situation to determine what deductions are allowed.

Expand/collapse all

NEVER allowed

The following deduction from wages is never allowed:

ALLOWED while employed or from final paycheck

The following deductions or withholdings are allowed when worker is still employed, on payday or when the worker has voluntarily quit or has been discharged. These deductions may reduce the employee's wage below the minimum wage in effect at the time of the deductions.

— During ongoing employment, the worker and employer must agree to the deduction in advance and in writing.
— Deductions from a final paycheck require an oral or written agreement.

  • Expand/collapse Required state and federal taxes…

    …including the worker's share of workers' compensation premiums.

  • Expand/collapse When worker agrees in advance…

    …to a deduction that is to his/her benefit. Examples: personal loans, personal purchases of business’s food, equipment, services, or purchase of items the business sells to the public, for the amount to bail worker out of jail, for worker health and dental insurance payments or co-payments, etc. The deduction may not cause the business to benefit financially other than reasonable interest included in the agreement.

  • Expand/collapse Medical, surgical, or hospital care or service…

    ...when the business pays for the worker’s medical, surgical, or hospital care or service and the worker agrees to deductions from wages to repay those costs to the business. For Example: An employer and employee agree that the employer will pay hospital costs for an employee who has no insurance and the employee agrees to specific deductions from wages to repay the employer until the debt is repaid.

    This is different than deductions a worker may have agreed to for insurance coverage for health, dental, hospitalization, etc. This could include an agreement between employer and employee for employer to pay hospital costs for the worker who has no insurance and the employee agrees to repay the costs to the employer.

  • Expand/collapse Court-ordered garnishments…

    ...including those for child support.

ALLOWED from final paycheck only when there is an oral or written agreement between the employee and employer.

The following deductions are allowed only from a worker’s final paycheck. These may be applied only to incidents in the final pay period and may not be saved up from previous pay periods to be deducted from final check. They may not reduce the worker’s final check below the applicable minimum wage, even if the business makes such an agreement with the worker. The business has the burden of proving that workers were informed of company policies regarding these deductions. L&I recommends that the business put all such policies in writing and obtain written acknowledgement that the worker has read and understood these policies.


For more detail, see these L&I WACs:
Deductions from final wages — WAC 296-126-025
Wage deductions during on-going employment — WAC 296-126-028

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