What Can Be Deducted From My Paycheck

When you get your paycheck, you will see deductions. These are charges that are taken out of your regular earnings.

Sometimes employers deduct certain expenses, but only certain things can be deducted from your paycheck. It is important that you review your paystub and monitor these deductions.

You need to make sure only what should be deducted is being taken out, and that there are not any unusual or frivolous deductions that you were not expecting.

Also review any deductions to make sure they are taking out the right amount.

You don’t want them to withhold too much in taxes, and you should check to make sure you aren’t being overcharged for insurance or other associated expenses that are deducted from your paycheck.

It is your responsibility to pay close attention and keep watch on these deductions.

There are state and federal laws to protect you and other workers from the unscrupulous actions of employers. Make sure you understand your rights if you face a similar situation.


Employers may deduct from your paycheck using federal and state laws. These are legally authorized deductions. Employers can also make deductions that are voluntarily at the discretion of the employee.

As an example, your employer may require you to wear a specific uniform while on the job. They can make you purchase these uniforms.

Under the FSLA, if your employer requires you to wear a uniform because of the nature of their business, then the cost of your uniform can be considered a business expense and you can use it as a tax deduction.

You can ask for the cost of your uniform to be deducted from your paycheck. However, when the cost of the uniform is deducted, it cannot reduce your wages to lower than minimum wage.

The deduction cannot cut into your overtime compensation that is required by federal law. As an example, if you are earning minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, then they cannot deduct the cost of the uniform and they cannot make you purchase the uniform on your own.

If you receive $7.85 per hour and you work 30 hours per work, then the most that they can deduct from your check for your uniform is $19.50 that week.

Deductions For Cash Shortages Or Broken Goods

Federal law allows employers to deduct any cash shortages or breakage of items just so long as the employee doesn’t get paid less than minimum wage after the deduction.

 Of course, the laws and enforcement could vary from one state to another with some states being stricter.

Some states only allow the deductions if the employee admits to being responsible for the shortage or loss, and other states require the employer to get the consent of the employee in writing before the deduction is made.

In California, these deductions are only permissible if the employer can show that the employee acted willfully, dishonestly, or was negligent.

As an example, you were running a cash register at the store where you work. You earn $8 per hour for 40 hours per week.

The cash register was $50 short because you gave a customer too much change. Your employer can take a maximum of $30 per week from your paycheck and you still earn at least minimum wage.

How An Employment Lawyer Can Help

If you are seeing deductions that are not allowed, or if too much is being deducted from your check, you should talk with your employer.

If you think you are subjected to unlawful wage deductions by your employer and the problem isn’t being properly addressed, you should contact an attorney who specializes in employment law matters in your area.

Employment laws do vary from one state to another, so you will want to speak with an attorney who is experienced in this filed and who can advise you on your specific case and in your specific situation.

An attorney will be familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your situation and will review the specific details of your case to determine the best way to proceed with your claim against your employer.

You may be entitled to reimbursement for the unlawful wage deductions plus any other damages that you suffered because of your employer’s actions.

Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your claim with an attorney who handles such claims in your area. Don’t delay pursuing a claim to recover compensation for your damages.


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