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Improving Garnishment Processing with Process Re-Design and Technology

Introduction

Due to the myriad of governmental agencies and regulations, having an effective Garnishment Processing function can be very challenging to develop and oversee.  Due to the sensitive nature of the issues typically related to wage garnishments, it is critical that the processes in this area be both effective and considerate of the needs of the impacted employees.  A recent Peeriosity PeercastTM looked at the approaches companies are taking to simplify this effort and to automate it as much as possible.

Company Experience

A Peeriosity member company recently shared their experiences in improving their processing of garnishments.  The company has over 4,000 active garnishments in 40 states, with 70% of them support orders, 20% creditor orders, and the remaining 10% a mix of student loans, tax levies, and bankruptcies. 

Approximately 10 years ago, because of limited internal resource availability, they outsourced their Garnishment Processing activities to a third-party provider.  While they continued this relationship until March of 2019, they found it to be significantly more expensive than they originally anticipated.  When this was combined with data integrity issues with the supplier, as well as reconciliation difficulties, it became very clear that they needed to bring this process back in-house.  Some of the major enablers to allowing this transition included the following:

  • Electronic Income Withholding Order (eIWO) Integrations
    • Data interfaces from eIWO to SAP HCM
    • Automatic acknowledgements from SAP HCM to eIWO/State Agencies
    • Documents archived automatically in the Document Management System (PaperWise)
    • Detailed error report for any failed records in SAP HCM
  • Document Management
    • Inclusive of receiving documents, work flow, tracking and research 
    • Receiving and processing of garnishment orders
  • Master Data Management
    • Garnishment order release automation
  • Garnishment Processing
    • Garnishment deductions are interfaced for payment to SAP Finance
  • Custom Reports & Processes

With the implementation of the necessary technology and well-designed processes, the company was able to effectively transition their Garnishment Processing activities back in-house.  Additional details surrounding this project, including the complete member presentation and PeercastTM recording can be found on the Peeriosity member website.

iPollingTM Results Review

The results of a poll created recently by a Peeriosity member using the iPollingTM technology provide some interesting insights regarding the use of garnishment administrative fees where employees are charged a fee for processing costs.  The first poll question looked at the practice of charging employees the garnishment administrative fee as allowed by various states in the United States.  Reviewing the results, 40% make extensive use of these fees, with an additional 13% that do so intermittently.  For the remaining 47% of the companies, 13% are still evaluating this option, while 34% have considered it and decided not to proceed.

The follow-on poll question then addressed the issue of charging garnishment administrative fees to union employees in particular.  The results are interesting, with the vast majority of companies (73%) indicating that they charge the same fees to all employees, regardless of their union affiliation.  The remaining 27% of companies have not yet attempted to negotiate charging these fees to union employees or have not considered doing so.

Some of the comments made by Peeriosity members related to this poll include the following:

Manufacturing Member:  We only charge a flat fee on child support garnishments. We do not assess a fee on other garnishment types due to the complexity of varying state rules.

Consumer Products & Services Member:  We are following the state regulations for all employees.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member:  Will be reviewing again for 2020.

Consumer Products & Services Member:  We do not always charge the full amount allowed.

Closing Summary

With substantial advances in technology over the past few years, the ability of companies to effectively carry out the Garnishment Administration process has improved significantly.  While outsourcing these activities remains a viable option, the ability of companies to retain this process in-house has become an approach that may be the optimal solution for many.

How is the administration of Garnishment Processing currently structured at your company?  Is your current approach meeting your needs or is it time to take another look at this important process?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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