Garnishment of Debtor’s Expense Reimbursement Payments

One of my clients this past month presented a question about exemption money he receives from his employer. The client is a w-2 employee, and he supports his family. The general rule is that his creditors cannot garnish wages because he qualifies as head of household under Florida statutes.

But, there’s more. The client is in sales, and he incurs a significant amount of travel and entertainment expenses each month. He pays these expenses “out of pocket”, submits an expense report, and then the employer reimburses his expenses within 14 days. He wants to know if his expense reimbursement checks can be garnished, or if they are part of his exempt wages.

I think a creditor could garnish the expense reimbursements. The client (employee) has advanced money on the employer’s behalf to pay employment related expenses. The amount of expenses are owed by the employer to the client/employee. The expense checks represent payment of a debt the employer owes to the client. The checks are not part of compensation for labor, bonuses, or commissions. I think a creditor could garnish the expense reimbursement checks.