Employee paycheck deductions


Wage and Hour Bulletin

October 2020

Photo of boss handing employee their paycheck

Minnesota laws about wage deductions

Below are some practices you should follow to ensure your business is in compliance with the Minnesota labor standards laws regarding paycheck deductions.

Deductions that cannot be made 

According to Minnesota Statutes 181.79, with limited exceptions, employers cannot deduct from an employee's wages for:

  • faulty workmanship;
  • loss;
  • theft;
  • damage; or
  • general debts.

This applies whether the deduction is taken directly from payroll or indirectly by an employer requiring an employee to pay.

Deductions that can be made 

Employers may deduct from wages only when:

  • the employee voluntarily authorizes the deduction in writing (Minn. Stat. 181.06);
  • the written authorization is given by the employee after the loss or debt has occurred (Minn. Stat. 181.79); and
  • the authorization sets the amount to be deducted from the employee's wages during each pay period (Minn. Stat. 181.79).

Employers looking to recoup the cost of purchases or loans made to employees must also obtain a voluntary, written authorization. However, in this case, the employer may obtain the authorization before the purchase or loan is made.

Uniforms, equipment

According to Minn. Stat. 177.24.4, employers may deduct a maximum of $50 from an employee's wages for:

  • purchased or rented uniforms required for the job; and
  • purchased or rented equipment used to do the job.

The maximum $50 deduction from an employees wages for the items listed above is throughout the employee's career and must be paid back to the employee upon separation of employment. Also, these deductions must not bring the employee's wages below the minimum wage for all hours worked.

Consumable supplies, travel expenses

Also according to Minn. Stat. 177.24.4, an employer may take direct or indirect deductions for:

  • consumable supplies used to do the job; and
  • travel expenses incurred for work.

An employer must fully reimburse the employee for those expenses at the end of employment.


Labor Standards serves the citizens of Minnesota by providing
information about the state's wage, hour and employment laws.

Phone:  651-284-5075 or 800-342-5354
Email:  dli.laborstandards@state.mn.us
Website:  www.dli.mn.gov/laborlaw