Legal Question in Business Law in Pennsylvania

My wife has a job doing Customer Service for a fairly large company. She started working there July of 2010. Feb 2011 her employer made 2 direct deposits, her regular check, and a profit sharing check. March 2011 her employer sent her and a few other employees an email demanding the gross amount back from the profit sharing check, NOT the amount deposited into the account. This is all due to not working 1000 hours in 2010. She has one day to tell them to deduct it from 1 or 2 of her upcoming paychecks. Is this legal? What are her options?

Asked on 3/17/11, 2:02 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Will Whitman Whitman, LLC

Unless the law has changed significantly from the last time I looked at this issue, in order for an employer to deduct from an employee's wages in PA, the deduction needs to be either 1) authorized or required by the law or 2) authorized in writing by the employee or via a collective bargaining agreement the employee is bound under. From your description, it is possible that the deduction is authorized under law as a recovery of overpayment under an employee welfare and pension plan subject to the Federal Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act. Take a look at the law, regulations and FAQs (3 separate links) at PA's Department of Labor and Industry web site From my reading of your facts, it seems that if your wife did not authorize the deduction in writing, this would be the only type of deduction that would appear to be applicable. I would think your wife's options would be first, to ask the employer if this is an authorized deduction under Pennsylvania law, and if so, what is the authority. If it is not an authorized deduction, then I think your wife could probably negotiate a more favorable time frame for a payment plan to repay the money owed to the employer. Your wife may also benefit by reaching out for the PA Department of Labor and Industry, whose mission is "to improve the quality of life and economic security for Pennsylvania workers and businesses, encourage labor-management cooperation and prepare the commonwealth's workforce for the jobs of the future." Finally, my understanding is that even if the deduction is authorized by the employee or under the law, it may not bring her wage under minimum wage. I hope this helps.

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Answered on 3/17/11, 2:23 pm

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