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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19675
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I have just received an email from my employer letting me know

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I have just received an email from my employer letting me know that they have not been taking money out of my paycheck for my health insurance. They want me to pay back the 6 months premiums at a rate they came up with ($300/per paycheck). I told them I cant afford that much being taken from my paycheck and that I could pay $150/per paycheck. They said they can not do that because it has to be paid by the end of the year. Are they legally allowed to just take any amount they want to pay this back? Do I even have to pay this back since it was my employers fault and not mine? Wouldnt they need my consent to change any deductions on my paycheck?

Thank you for the information and your question and I am sorry to read about this situation. Unfortunately though your employer has the law on their side on this issue. You initially enrolled in the health plan and that is the only consent that your employer ever needed to make deductions for your insurance premiums. Although it is highly regrettable that the employer failed to make the deductions when they were due, and was negligent in failing to do so, the fact is that you received the benefit of health insurance coverage and owe this money. Otherwise, there would be a contractual claim that could be enforced against you and also unjust enrichment.

Under Ohio and Federal wage laws, they could, if they chose to, make the total deduction all at once, or out of all available paychecks until paid. In other words, the minimum wage laws do not prohibit them from making these kinds of wage deductions that could potentially reduce your effective rate of pay to below minimum wage. However, it sounds like they are not quite doing that, but having to meet IRS guidelines to catch up. Those deadlines cannot be waived, so unless they are willing to cover this, which is doubtful as I have never seen an employer do that, you are in the unfortunate position of having to play catch up.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would like to add this and see if it changes anything. I work in Erlanger KY, live in Cleves OH and my employer is based out of NY. Is NY law different? I also ran across this which states that it is now that I am in debt with my employer and is no longer a health insurance issue and they cant take money for debt without my consent?


2) Deductions expressly authorized by the
employee in writing – Examples of deductions that an employee may
authorize in advance include: premiums for life, health or
disability insurance, contributions to pension or retirement plans,
and other deductions made pursuant to voluntary wage assignments.
However, the employee must authorize these deductions in writing.

1) No right of offset for employee’s debts
to employer – An employer is prohibited from deducting payment of a
debt that an employee owed to the employer. Permitting the employer
to offset the employee’s debt from the wages will allow the employer
to bypass the legal system, violating the law against “prejudgment
attachment.” The employer has the same recourse as all other
creditors – which is to get an order from the court to have the debt

However, an employee may authorize an employer to
withhold some amounts owed by the employee to pay a debt to an
employer. The employee must acknowledge the debt in writing. This is
allowed particularly when the employee had been making periodic
payments on an agreed-upon basis. But if the employee is terminated
before the entire debt is paid, the employer may not “accelerate”
the balance. Rather, the employer may withhold from the employee’s
final paycheck only the periodic amount then due.

Hello again Jeff--Can you tell me who that information came from that you provided to me?

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