Wage garnishment: in case of debts

Wage garnishment, debt, creditor and debt restructuring: in case of debts, the creditor can have wages garnished. Income from work or benefits is withheld. Wage attachment is not allowed just like that, but must be requested by the creditor. What are the rules and amount of the wage garnishment?


Anyone who has debts will have to deal with creditors. Creditors are one or more people or companies to which you still owe money. Sometimes it is not possible to pay off the debt at all. This could be because you cannot make ends meet on your money, for example. Or don’t know how to distribute it properly. Sometimes you are angry with the creditors because of the way they have acted, and you refuse to pay them. In any case, you will notice that creditors do everything they can to get their money. Letters are sent, warnings, threats, and then the bailiff is at your door. Anyway, even that doesn’t help enough and the debts remain outstanding. In this case, the creditor can proceed with wage garnishment.

Wage garnishment

With wage garnishment, the creditor seizes the debtor’s wages or benefits. The debtor is the one who has to pay off that debt. The creditor instructs a bailiff to do this. This bailiff visits the employer or benefits agency. The debtor himself will therefore not be notified of this. The employer or benefits agency must provide the amount of the wage or benefit and a number of other information, and then pay part of the wage directly to the creditor or bailiff. The employer or benefits agency is legally obliged to do this and may not refuse. If he or she refuses, the employer or benefits agency itself can be taken to court and sometimes even be responsible for the entire debt. For this reason they will always cooperate. If the debtor changes jobs in order to avoid the wage garnishment, the bailiff will eventually go to the new employer to impose wage garnishment again.

Amount of wage garnishment

Not the entire salary can simply be taken, there is always something called the seizure-free amount. This is the basic amount that people need to be able to live. These are the rent or mortgage, health insurance, funeral insurance, gas, water and electricity and subsistence such as food and clothing. There are certain rules attached to this. The debtor cannot simply say that he has to buy food for 700 euros per week. There are tables for this that indicate exactly how high this may be per person, per cohabitant and per family. The amount of the seizure-free amount is approximately 90 percent of the social assistance standard. This means the following:

Anti-slip foot for the following people:

Under 21 years of age without children:

  • single 191
  • married people; both spouses under the age of 21 383
  • married people; one spouse 21 years or older 747

Younger than 21 years old with one or more children:

  • single parent 414
  • married people; both spouses under the age of 21 605
  • married people; one spouse 21 years or older 969

21 years or older:

  • single 555
  • single parent 776
  • married people, both spouses under the age of 65 1110
  • married people; one spouse under 65 years old 1174

The amounts apply to 2010 and do not include holiday allowance, and have also been rounded off. Sometimes the judge decides to leave the seizure-free amount higher, so that the employee remains motivated to work.

Is this just possible?

The answer to this is: yes, this is possible. Anyone who does not pay or refuses to pay their debts may sooner or later have to deal with wage garnishment. However, the creditor must have a court ruling on this. The debtor does not need to be informed of this first. If all goes well, the debtor would have already received enough warnings and reminders before the wage garnishment. This gave the debtor sufficient opportunity and time to do something about the payment.