What is a wage garnishment? A wage garnishment is any legal procedure through which some portion of a person's wages are required to be withheld by their employer for the payment of a debt. Most garnishments are made by court order. Your employer can take up to 25 percent of your paycheck and send it to the creditor you owe. This is a painful way to repay a debt and causes people to get behind on their other bills like rent, mortgage, car payment, etc.