Tip: Wilmington charging paycheck withholding fee

Updated at 5:46 p.m. ET. Based on the comments, below, this fee sounds fairly innocent. (And thank you, Editor David Ledford and HR chief Dolores Pinto, for clearing this up by responding to my e-mail. Not.)

Earlier: In an e-mail, a reader says: “On Sept. 12, the human resources department in Wilmington put a letter in everyone’s paycheck stating that, effective Oct. 1, The News Journal is going to start charging employees an ‘administrative fee’ to take withholding out of paychecks. The reason? The News Journal is using a vendor, ADP Garnishment Services, to ‘provide more efficient service to you.’ The memo doesn’t state what the fee is, but says a list of fees ‘permissible under local/state/federal jurisdictions’ is available through our HR department.

“I did a little bit of research and it looks like states, including Delaware, allow these fees for the collection of child support. That’s right, child support. So is Gannett taking advantage of a law meant to help children in order to help a desperate newspaper corporation? Thanks for any light you can shed on this.”

This fee sounds so over-the-top outrageous that I’ve asked for a response from the paper’s HR chief, Dolores Pinto, and from top editor David Ledford. (I couldn’t find an e-mail address for Publisher Curtis Riddle on the paper’s contacts page.)

Does your worksite charge fees like this? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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25 Responses to “Tip: Wilmington charging paycheck withholding fee”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This has to be the most outrageous thing I have ever read on this blog. Federal and state laws require taxes to be withheld from an employee’s paycheck. I think corporate lawyers might want to take a second look at this because the option of an employee objecting to withholding is to direct Gannett to stop taking taxes out of their paycheck –something that would violate the law.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I once worked at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, where I remember hearing a longtime staffer quip, “Sooner or later they’re gonna find a way to get us to pay them to work here.” This item out of Delaware would seem to be another milepost in that search.

    It’s fascinating, as a former newspaper guy who jumped a few years ago, to watch what’s happening in the industry. Earth to newspaper people (Gannetoids and all others): It’s over. The wheels have come off the bus. They are going to continue to harvest the out-sized profits they’re used to for just as long as they can for a very sensible reason: They feel entitled to them because they’ve enjoyed them up till now. Just as you feel entitled to the same (or bigger) paycheck this year as the one you received last year. They will do what they have to do to keep the money-machine cranking. You are not obligated to help them do it.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Amazing how some of these newspapers are nickel and diming their employees to death.

    If that ever happens at my paper, that might be the thing that forces my hand to look for another job.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    You can contact Curtis at criddle at gannett.com or delawareonline.com. I think his administrative assitants go through his email before he reads anything, at least that’s how it was several years ago.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Can I get a clarification? Is this only for garnishments?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The fees affect only court-ordered garnishments and not other withholdings. Employers are essentially an uncompensated collection arm for courts when people don’t pay obligations; many employers have begun to outsource this function to shift the cost to the debtor rather than the employer.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    This is what I got. I checked – it’s only garnishments. That means some deadbeat didn’t pay childsupport and or didn’t pay their taxes. This is how the govt collects the money. Doesn’t have anything to do with the withholding that everybody has taken out.

    I’m trying to cut and paste the memo below…hope it works…

    September 26, 2008

    TO: All Employees

    FROM: Dolores Pinto

    RE: Garnishments from Pay

    Effective October 1, 2008, all information relating to Gannett’s withholding order processing (garnishments) will be handled by ADP Garnishment Services. Consolidating these services under ADP will help us accommodate federal, state and local requirements for withholding order processing and provide more efficient service to you.

    What’s Different?
    As a part of outsourcing the process to ADP, there are some changes that may affect you.

    • All withholding orders received will be forwarded to ADP for processing and payment distribution.

    • Effective October 1, 2008, an administrative fee will be charged to you and deducted from your pay each pay period for each withholding order the company processes on your behalf. This fee, the assessment of which is standard business practice for many companies, will be used to offset the cost of outsourcing garnishments. A list of the fees permissible under local/state/federal jurisdictions for the various types of garnishments is available from the Human Resources office.

    • Effective October 1, 2008, you should direct any questions about the administration of your withholding order to ADP Customer Service at 866-324-5191.

    Questions about the Process Change?
    Please feel free to contact the Human Resources department if you have any questions about these changes.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks to 2:29 and 2:39 for the info.

    I don’t really see a problem with the company passing along this cost to the employee. It seems quite reasonable, actually.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    This is what I got. I checked – it’s only garnishments. That means some deadbeat didn’t pay childsupport and or didn’t pay their taxes.

    except in states like AZ where the court collects child support only thru garnishment whether you’re a deadbeat or not.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Wait a minute, I’m not a deadbeat!!! It is a whole lot simpler to have the company process and write/send the money to my ex-spouse. That goes for a lot of people.

    My lawyer at the time recommended this so if there was ever a “missed” payment it would fall back on the paper and not me.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    What A$$holes. This is worst than touching the Corkey’s blue balls.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    This is an absolute joke. It takes zero time really to cut these checks. It’s not like Dolores is in the back room writing them out herself. It’s just an idiotic idea coming from the head idiot, Curtis Riddle. This man continues to make Wilmington into a laughing stock. At one time, under Sal Devivo, Wilmington was admired. Now, not at all. Time to put Riddle, the poster boy for Affirmative Action out to pasture. The overall Gannett IQ will rise immediately. And while you are at it, take the other idiots like his controller and production director with him.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    If this is used only for garnishments, such as tax liens and child support, I’m all for it. If it’s the opening salvo of a flimflam that will include standard withholdings down the road, I’m not. Time will tell, I guess.

    As someone with a deadbeat ex, I think a fee serves as a much-needed (albeit small) deterrent to the bad behavior that forces the need for garnishment. A lot of taxpayer money is wasted by the time most cases get to garnishment (Arizona excluded, perhaps).

    The person who said he chooses garnishment for his/her own security and convenience describes a service an employer is providing to help him/her comply with a child-support judgment that has nothing to do with the company. He/she says if the payment isn’t on time, the company lawyers have to explain and not the payer.

    Should the company offer that legal protection for free to the few? That cost, however small, ends up paid by the rest of the employees and (choking, but being honest) stockholders.

    The garnishment may be just an electronic banking transaction when all goes well, but all the cases I know of involve separate post-divorce court orders. Public CS Collection offices, paid by taxpayers, already have borne the cost of investigations that may include subpeonas and other legal procedures, law enforcement apprehensions and incarceration. Often this all is multiplied by interstate action.

    If companies add deterrents such as this, maybe fewer parents will play the “catch me if you can” game.

    I’m pretty sure in one of many hearings for my ex after one of his several incarcerations for nonsupport, he griped to the judge about a fee his employer took for at least the initial garnishment arrangement. The judge, needless to say, I hope, mocked him.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Please don’t expect to get a comment from the venerable Dolores Pinto, the VP of HR who hasn’t the consideration to return HR-related phone calls or e-mails from directors in the group she supposedly manages.
    On the other hand, 8:36, I disagree with your assessment of Curtis Riddle. He is intelligent and knows the newspaper business inside and out. I respect him very much.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I am connected to Gannett through marriage, and my spouse is in midst of moving on to another job. I checked out this site tonite at his urging, He wanted me to verify that the majority of the comments seem to come from very sad, frustrated folks.

    I pulled up three different posts over the past four days at random to see the types of comments offered.

    Well, i did. And they do.. Did it occur to anybody else that all the time you are spending venting your negativity is not good for your mental health.

    Name calling seems to be the rule of the day here; which in itself is also very telling.

    I wish you well, but of course I’m sure that doesn’t mean much to people who are so unhappy at the start of their day as many of you seem to be.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    As an parent you receives child support garnished from my ex’s paycheck, I have to stick up for the spouses who are supportive and paying and who chose garnishment based on advice from a lawyer for simplicity in increasing child support for cost of living and raises. Garnishment does not mean deadbeat.

    But as usual, many of you who past here are always thinking the worst — about the company and about other people. Must suck to be so unhappy all the time.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    9:08, when was the last time anyone in the Wilmington newsroom, aside from the top brass or the stars, even saw Riddle?

    He may be brilliant, but nobody at his paper knows it. (Are any of his niche products succeeding?)

    I wouldn’t recognize him if I bumped into him in the hallway. Heck, I may have done that!

    A GREAT management style – leading by anonymity.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I always wonder about the sanity of people who come to open forums like this and then have the insatiable need to label the whole lot one-size-fits-all “unhappy.” Seems like they don’t realize they’re looking in a mirror. Or they come here with a purpose to begin with.

    I see lots of people posting that they are content in their jobs, and I see favorable posts about a lot of managers. And, I see useful “thought topics” relevant to our HR lives that help us see things from many different angles. This expands alternatives that may be useful to some of us.

    But to those who find it unhelpful, why bring your own misery here? Why not keep your negative thoughts about us to yourself and so keep us from being more “unhappy”? Life is all about being happy, all the time, no matter what, after all. Right?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve never met Curtis Riddle, and I’ve been at Wilmington for a while. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t a real person at all.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    yo 8:36, Sal Divivo, are you kidding me? He is/was a schmuck on his best day. Who else is your hero, Bobby Collins, Gary Watson? This has to be a joke right?

  21. Jim Hopkins Says:

    In an e-mail, a reader says: “You know, in fairness, editor David Ledford is on vacation this week, and Dolores Pinto was out of the office all day (not sure personal or vacation or just on the road for work, but definitely not here).  The idea that they should immediately respond to you while they’re not in the office to explain petty (and fully understandable, if anyone had just bothered to ask a manager) stuff like this seems a little presumptuous.”

  22. Anonymous Says:

    2:38 AM
    Being away from the office doesn’t cut it, especially in a company that specializes in communication. Also, one trait of a good leader is an ability to delegate in such a way that allows for seamless communication.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Ms. Pinto was not out of the office on the several times I wrote her an e-mail and the several times I telephoned her. She never once responded. This may have been the case yesterday, but I’m fairly confident Jim would have heard nothing even if she had been present.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    I’m just a lowly peon, but if I go on vacation or am out of the office for an extended period, I set my e-mail to auto-respond with a message saying (a) I’ll reply when I return and (b) Here’s who you can contact if you need immediate help. It’s really, really easy.

    Besides, Ledford loves his Blackberry.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Riddle = brilliant. You have got to be kidding. Just look at the financial results. When was the last time Wilmington hit their budget goals. It’s been years. If he wasn’t a regional president, he would have been gone a long time ago. The other reason he is still around is because he is an incredible ball washer. Gary Watsons were never as clean as when he was around Riddle. Trust me, I was once on the Wilmington OC. I saw it first hand. He doesn’t care about anybody in Wilmington but himself. The man doesn’t have a leadership bone in his body.

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