What can an employer deduct from an Oklahoma employee's pay?

As any Oklahoma resident who has worked for someone else knows, receiving that first paycheck can be a little of a mixed blessing. While it's usually good to receive compensation for your hard work, there is often a little dismay at the fact that the amount listed under "gross wages" can differ substantially from that listed as "net wages." Gross wages are, of course, the basic amount of your pay calculated by multiplying you pay rate by the number of hours worked for hourly employees, or the prorated amount of your yearly pay for the particular pay period involved for salaried employees. Net pay is that amount of money you actually get when you cash or deposit that check after all deductions. But what can an employer deduct from an employee's pay?

According to Oklahoma Department of Labor, employers are able to take a few different things out of an employee's gross wages. First and foremost, of course, are FICA and Social Security. These are taxes that are mandated by federal statute to be deducted from just about every employee's paycheck. They are sometimes referred to collectively as "income tax," though they are separate programs with different rules.

There are some other deductions that employers are legally obligated to take out of employees' wages. Income Deduction Orders (IDOs) signed by a judge, or other garnishments approved by court order, can also be taken out. The most common form of IDO is that relating to the withholding of child support. Other possible deductions of this type may include back taxes owed to the government or compensation ordered by a court after a civil judgment. Then, there are those deductions an employer can make for its own reasons, such as the reasonable cost of any uniforms that an employee must wear.

While this may seem to employees like a lot of money being siphoned out of their pay, it is important to remember that employees do have rights. For example, in Oklahoma, any deduction not required by statute must be governed by a written agreement between the employer and employee. Further, there are minimum wage and hour laws that employers must also comply with. If you have questions about your rights as an employee, or your responsibilities as an employer, it might be a good idea to consider consulting an experienced Oklahoma employment attorney.