October 27, 2022
Debt Collection & Settlement
Policy & Legislation
The Protecting Wages Act will keep more money in the pockets of working people struggling to pay rent and put food on the table, while still allowing the collection industry to collect debts.
- Protects Enough Wages for Basic Needs From Seizure: Protects $1,000 in disposable earnings per week from being seized for old debts, or 75% of disposable earnings, whichever protection is greater.
Current law hasn’t been updated since 1968 and only protects $217.50 a week (or 75% of disposable earnings, if greater) from seizure–nowhere near enough to meet basic needs.
- Protects Consumer Purchasing Power: Annually adjusts the $1,000 in protected wages based on the Consumer Price Index to protect purchasing power from inflation.
Recent inflation spikes have shown the need to future-proof consumer protections to ensure consumers have sufficient income to meet basic needs.
- Protects Jobs: Makes sure workers aren’t fired for having their wages seized for multiple debts.
Current law only protects workers who have their wages seized for ONE debt.
- Protects Employers and Small Businesses: Employers get stuck with the burden of administering wage garnishments, which is especially a headache for small businesses.
The Protecting Wages Act is good not just for employees but for job creators.
- Ensures Collectors Can’t Threaten Imprisonment for Failure to Pay a Consumer Debt: Stops debt collectors from using the threat of jail to coerce breadwinners into paying old debts—rather than necessities like food and rent.
Forty-four states authorize debtors to be arrested and incarcerated for failing to appear for debtors’ examinations or other post-judgment proceedings. The threat or issuance of arrest warrants in debt matters amounts to de-facto debtors’ prisons.