The Kansas Wage Payment Act controls many aspects of wage payment and deductions. The KWPA's frequently unknown and often-misunderstood restrictions on wage deductions can cause problems for employers.
Kansas House Bill 2627, introduced on February 3, would amend the KWPA to clarify the law and expand the scope of authorized pay deductions. The proposed changes to the KWPA would expressly allow Kansas employers to withhold, deduct, or divert any portion of an employee's wages for the following purposes:
(1) To allow the employee to repay a loan or advance which the employer made to the employee during the course of and within the scope of employment. The KWPA presently is silent about such deductions, although Kansas Department of Labor regulations do say that employers can make deductions for cash advances the employee requested in writing.
(2) To allow for recovery of payroll overpayment. Here again, the KWPA today does not address such deductions, but KDOL regulations permit deductions to correct wage overpayment that resulted from the employer's error, although the deduction rate cannot exceed the overpayment rate unless the employee signs an authorization.
(3) To compensate the employer for the value of the employer's merchandise or uniforms purchased by the employee. The regulations today say that even with the employee's consent, an employer cannot make deductions for uniforms that are not necessary to the job and that are customarily supplied by the employer.
(4) To compensate the employer for breakage, loss or return of merchandise, inventory shortage, or cash shortage caused by the employee where the employee was the sole party responsible for the case or items damaged or lost at the time the damage or loss occurred. Such deductions now are expressly prohibited by the regulations.
We'll let you know if this bill makes material progress through the legislative sausage grinder. But for now, keep in mind that the KWPA and its corresponding regulations can be tricky and counterintuitive with regard to deductions from wages, so make sure to run things by an employment lawyer if you're not sure about a particular deduction.