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Deductions from Wages - The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards

Work, whether satisfactory or not, must be awarded compensation. Wage deductions are extraordinary, and are prohibited unless:

  • A court has ordered or allowed the employer to make the deduction. Examples include court ordered wage garnishments and orders to pay child support.
  • The Commissioner of the Maryland Division of Labor and Industry has allowed the deduction to offset or "pay for" something of value the employee has received. Examples include long distance telephone calls on the employer's business phone, personal loans, wage advances, etc.
  • Allowed by some law or regulation of the government. Examples include state and federal taxes.
  • The employee has given express written authorization to the employer to make the deduction. This should take the form of a separate and distinct statement, signed by the employee, concerning only the deduction and nothing more. Even with a proper authorization, however, employers must still pay at least the required minimum wage in the case of a deduction made to offset a loss to the employer due to the admitted or court determined fault or negligence of an employee (for example, careless damage to the employer's truck). If the deduction is made to offset something the employee received or retained from the employer which had monetary value (for example, personal loan, use of long-distance telephone line, materials, etc.), the deduction may, in that case, reduce the employee's wages below the minimum wage. Finally, an authorized deduction may be invalid if it violates or is inconsistent with other federal or state laws or regulations.