fbpx

Monthly Archives: May 2019

forklift_driver_salary-min

What is the salary of a forklift driver?

By | Forklift Driver | 23 Comments

What is the salary of a forklift driver?

In 2017, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported an average hourly wage of $17.00 or $35,000 each year for forklift drivers, but wages will differ depending on which state and city you live in.

Like anything else, locations with a high need for forklift drivers and not enough drivers are more likely to have higher pay. Likewise, places with less need for forklift drivers and many certified drivers available will have lower pay.

According to this same report, Georgia has the highest number of forklift driver jobs available but due to this, the annual wage ($33,500) is slightly lower than the national average. On the flip side, Connecticut has the least amount of forklift operator jobs and so their pay is much more generous–coming in at $40,500 annually.

What forklift driver training do you need?

Training to become a forklift driver requires both classroom training (either online or in person) and hands-on practice driving the forklift. This means that any website that offers certification completely online cannot give you a full certification since you also must have hands-on practice with the forklift. OSHA has made these requirements to make sure that forklift operators and their coworkers are safe at work.

People who would like to be a forklift driver typically either find a local certified forklift program or work with their employer to get a certification. Some employers offer forklift training onsite and certify you.

Many times, training offered by an employer will be specific to the model of forklifts they use and any additional safety training that comes with their specific industry. For example, a company moving chemicals may provide training on handling chemicals spills while a warehouse with ramps will provide detailed training on keeping the forklift balanced while driving on these obstacles.

If you do not work with a company that offers forklift certification, there are many independent programs that can offer training for a fee. Just make sure the program you choose meets the OSHA training requirements.

What is it like being a forklift driver?

Being a forklift driver may have the outward appearance of being a simple job but it requires certification for a reason. This job is tough.

Forklifts are classified as heavy equipment. These machines may not move very fast but they can lift enormous amounts of weight and do a lot of damage in the process they are not used correctly.

Being a forklift driver means you are responsible for your safety, the safety of your co-workers and the care of the items you are moving. This requires some math skills (considering angles and balancing the machine), hand-eye coordination (when loading or unloading the lift) and even patience (allowing the machine time to properly do its job).

Being a forklift operator can be quite rewarding as you can see the physical results of your work, and you hold a lot of power in the day-to-day operations of the company. Without this machine and its driver, not much would get done. As we know, with great power comes great responsibility, and that means being aware of any hazards and following the rules for the machine’s recommended uses.

What training is required to become a forklift driver?

It is a legal requirement that you be at least 18 years old to operate a forklift. Most forklift operator jobs will also require you to have a high school diploma or GED.

You will need to receive your certification from an OSHA approved training program.

Your certification will include a hands-on portion along with training in the classroom. Remember, just going through an online program will not allow you to get your full certification since you have required hands-on training and driving practice.

The classroom curriculum can be done in-person or online but will often consist of safety training. Once you have completed both of these portions you will be fully certified as a forklift operator.

From here your employer may require further training specific to their company policies or industry.

Finally, it is OSHA regulation that you are evaluated at least every three years to keep your forklift certification. Your employer may do this more often but the federal requirement is set at three years.

Do you have to go to school to be a forklift driver?

No, you do not have to go to school. That said, you must have a forklift training certification that is OSHA approved. Getting this certification should only take two days or less. If you don’t pass the first time, you can always try again.

What is OSHA?

We’ve mentioned that you need OSHA-certified training to become a forklift driver, but what the heck is OSHA anyways? OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is an agency of the United States Department of Labor that was created to make sure workers are safe in their place of work.
OSHA requires employers to do certain things to make sure their work environments and employees stay as safe as possible. When something is required by OSHA, it is important that businesses and employees follow through.

Where can I expect to work as a forklift operator?

In fact, just about any business or industry that has large materials to move will likely have at least one forklift.

That said, people usually think about forklift work happening in a warehouse. Many forklift drivers do work in warehouses to move new stock, newly built products, manufacturing waste and final pallets that are ready for shipping. Forklifts can be used in warehouses to load and unload trucks.

So, it’s obvious that warehousing and manufacturing environments will have a number of forklift positions available. However, it’s important to realize there are many other industries with potential forklift needs. These can include:

  • Construction sites
  • Boat docks and terminals
  • Farms
  • Airports
  • Store stocking (think Sam’s Club or Home Depot)

Many hospitals own forklifts to transport incoming supplies or equipment. A zoo may also own a forklift to transport animals or materials for enclosures. Keep this fact in mind when searching for a job as there may be some less common options available in your market.

How expensive is forklift certification?

It really depends on where you live and what resources are available. If your employer is helping you get your certification you may not have to pay anything. Some local government programs may also offer reduced fees. In many other places, it may be more than $200. If you are being taught additional safety information your classroom time, and price, may go up.

The best way to find out is to start searching the internet to see what kind of forklift driver classes are available near you. With a simple Google search and a few calls, you should get a good idea of your options.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you are already certified and move to another company. You may be on the hook for additional training that your new company requires in order to fit their industry or safety standards.

Can I become a forklift driver with no experience?

You can, but it may be difficult. In general, if you want to get a job as a forklift driver, the safest bet is to go ahead and get your certification. If you want to take a less traditional route, think about what companies in your area will be willing to help you take steps to become a forklift driver.
Having forklift certification is important because OSHA requires every forklift driver to be trained and certified to use the forklift in the workplace. As with any job application, there may be other candidates with more experience or drive time on the forklift than you.

One common track that eventual forklift drivers take is working their way up through the ranks in a warehouse. This often means starting in an entry level position and advancing from within the company to forklift driver. Another similar way to get hired without prior certification is being hired in at an entry level position with the understanding you will be trained by the company to become a forklift driver.

One way you can boost your “experience” factor if you are newly certified is to include any prior warehousing jobs you have held. Even though you may not have driven a forklift specifically, your experience in a warehousing environment is invaluable–especially if you worked in a similar industry.

For example, say you have applied for a forklift operator job with a major food manufacturer. There may be another candidate who has been driving forklifts for three years at a shipping center. They obviously beat you out on forklift experience. However, if you previously worked in a food manufacturing plant you may actually have an advantage over the other candidate. You are more likely to understand the urgency related to food movement, the sanitation parts of the job, along with other industry rules and regulations.

Although you may not hit the ground running with job offers after being licensed to drive a forklift, you should still try to show all relevant experience and knowledge to the hiring company.

What kind of agency will help me find a forklift job?

As with any job, career boards and websites can help you find forklift positions near you. These sites are one of the easiest ways to start your search and figure out how many jobs are available in your area along with possible pay and what shifts to expect. If you want to find a more specific job, you may need to reach out to a recruiting agency (also called a staffing or temp agency).

These agencies can help you find the specific details of a job you are looking for. As well, these agencies have special relationships with industries to help you find possible jobs not present on online job boards.

Never forget that networking can also help you find a job. Talk to your friends, family and acquaintances and ask if they have heard about any forklift driver job openings. Do you know anyone who is currently a forklift driver? Reach out to that person and ask them if they have heard about any openings.

What kind of skills should I put on a forklift driver resume?

When it comes to forklift operators, being certified is key. Employers can get into a lot of trouble for having unqualified drivers operating their forklifts. Remember, OSHA requires employers have only certified drivers operating their forklifts. You want to make sure your resume clearly states that you are OSHA certified so potential employers know you are a safe bet and ready to begin working immediately.

Other great inclusions can be your focus on safety, stamina for working long hours and great time-management skills when it comes to moving stock quickly.

If you have worked in a warehouse environment or as a forklift driver before, you will also want to include any achievements on your last job such as safety awards, attendance records or other related achievements.

What qualifications do you need to become a forklift driver?

You are legally required to be at least 18 years old and OSHA certified to operate a forklift. Beyond that, your employer will likely require a high school diploma or GED.

If possible, gain some floor time in a warehouse. This will help you become familiar with a warehouse environment such as loud sounds, heavy lifting or outdoor work conditions.

Warehouse work can be tough, so employers will be looking for candidates who can handle it. Any experience in a warehouse shows employers you know the expected work conditions and that you are able to work well in this environment.

What skills do you need to be good at to become a forklift driver?

Many can be certified to become a forklift driver but only a few can be great in a position such as this. Driving a forklift is not as simple as driving a car. This job requires the technical skill and knowledge of the forklift itself but also:

  • Patience – The process of moving heavy objects is never speedy.
  • Attention to Detail-Working a forklift can be dangerous so it’s important to be aware of possible hazards.
  • Flexibility-Forklift drivers don’t often work 9-5, Monday through Friday. Companies using forklifts may be operating 24/7. As well, a forklift may not always be required to complete the work so your ability to roll with the punches is a must.
can_child_support_take_your_whole_paycheck-min

How much can child support take from my bank account?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Can child support take my whole paycheck?

Your child support deductions likely won’t be your whole paycheck but, depending on the support the courts are requiring you to pay, a large chunk can be subtracted from your paycheck.

A calculated monthly amount will first be deducted from your pay, along with other required items like state and federal taxes.

If you still owe any past due child support payments after these deductions are made, your check can have more money taken from it. According to federal law, a maximum of 65% of your remaining paycheck can be withheld for past due child support.

This is a huge amount of money to possibly be withheld. Luckily, some states have lower withholding percentages than the federal maximum.

While 65% is the highest amount that can be deducted, this percentage can be lower based on factors such as how far past due your arrears are and if you are financially supporting a second family.

The overall amount deducted from your paycheck will be determined after mandatory deductions such as your monthly child support and taxes.

So, for example, if your paycheck is $300.00 and $100.00 is taken from your paycheck for mandatory tax deductions, this leaves $200.00 in eligible income for your past due child support garnishments to be deducted from. If your situation requires you to pay the maximum 65% on this eligible $200.00, then your child support garnishment would be $130.00, leaving you with $70.00.

Keep in mind, this is just an example using the highest range of withholding percentages. Your circumstances may be much different, depending on how much you owe in past due support payments and if you are the breadwinner for a second family.

How do child support paycheck deductions work?

Child support payments can be deducted from your paycheck as a result of a court order. This occurs when the court considers you the “noncustodial parent” who is responsible for contributing to his or her child’s day-to-day financials, called the monthly support obligation.

As the noncustodial parent, this means you do not have primary custody of your child but still need to contribute to their food, clothing or educational needs.

Now, the amount you pay monthly in child support is determined by a judge and the factors that go into this decision are your wage, the other guardian’s wage and the financial needs of the child, such as tuition or medical insurance.

Your monthly child support payment is based on a set calculation made by your state. Each is different (and quite complex), but the usual considerations that make up your monthly support payments are your wage, the other guardian’s wage and the number of children being supported. Other factors a judge may take into consideration are the childrens’ financial needs.

Your employer will be notified of the amount you need to pay in child support and then this amount will be deducted from your paycheck and sent to the state to be distributed to your child.

Do past due child support payments come out of my paycheck?

When child support payments are missed, this is considered child support back pay, past due child support or arrearments. This is considered a debt and can be deducted from your wages. The deduction of past due child support from your paycheck is often called a garnishment.

You will be garnished for these past due amounts again if a court believes that this is the only way for you to pay or catch up on the balance. A garnishment is subtracted from your paycheck after your monthly child support amount is deducted.

Once more, the court will notify your employer of the garnishment, and from there, your company will deduct the proper amount and send it to the state to be paid to your child.

Another thing to keep in mind is that child support back pay accrues interest and this interest rate is set by your state. If you owe a lot of past due child support, the amount due to your child will be a bit higher than you anticipated because of this interest.

Am I required to pay child support through a paycheck deduction/garnishment?

Since this deduction from your wages is a court order you are required by law to have this money taken from your paycheck. This is often put in place to ensure that child support payments are guaranteed to be made and cannot be lost in the mail, shortchanged or generally forgotten.

If you don’t follow the child support order from the court, you can be punished by the court in a number of ways, including suspension of your driver license, passport denial, a tax return seizure, property liens or even jail time. Needless to say, it is best to make sure you pay your child support payments no matter how the money is distributed.

Can child support take half of my paycheck?

As we discussed previously, the amount that can be taken from your paycheck after your monthly child support balance can vary based on how much past due child support (arrears) you owe.

Federally, the limit that can be garnished from your paycheck for child support arrears is 50% to support a second family if you are less than 12 weeks in arrears on your child support payments.

If these circumstances don’t apply to you – for example, you are single or more than 12 weeks in arrears – then your withholding percentage will likely be higher. Again, though, there are some states with a lower minimum percentage.

One thing to keep in mind with all these large numbers rolling around is that these garnishments are only applied to your paycheck while you owe arrears.

Once your child support arrears have been paid in full, you will only have your monthly child support deductions taken from your paycheck. Your company must follow the court orders, so your employer has no say about when the arrears of your child support will be paid.

Can child support be more than my paycheck?

While, legally, your entire paycheck cannot be garnered, it can certainly feel that way. In situations where your paychecks are being garnished to the point that you are unable to maintain necessities such as rent or gas to drive to work, it may be time to request a review of your child support payments.

Courts take into account your child’s needs, but they also take your situation into account as well. If you can show a judge you are willing to pay or catch up on any owed arrears but need some leniency on the amount or frequency of payments, you may be able to have the amount of the garnishment or monthly support payments lowered.

Does child support come out of my paycheck before taxes?

Any monthly child support payments or garnishments will be deducted from your paycheck after taxes are taken out. This includes your federal and state taxes.

Other deductions you may see come out before your child support can include social security contributions, required retirement plans, medical insurance, disability insurance and union dues. These additional deductions will depend on your employer and state rulings.

How long does it take to garnish wages?

Once your employer receives the court order for your garnishment it must immediately begin the process of withholding from your checks. Many times these deductions will take effect on your next scheduled paycheck. The reason this process moves so quickly is that the court often requires your employer to confirm the garnishment has been processed.

Can I be fired if my employer receives a garnishment order?

You cannot be fired for having one garnishment order on your paycheck. This is a federal law that protects employees. However, if you have two or more garnishment orders on your paycheck, then your employer does have the right to end your employment with them.

There are some states that provide protections for employees with multiple garnishments and your company may not see a reason to let you go for having multiple garnishments.

Some companies, however, may consider this option if you work closely with the finances of the organization, seem distracted on the job from possible money concerns or if they feel the number of garnishment calculations is a burden.

If you feel that this could be a possibility, it may be beneficial to speak with your manager or HR representative at the company. Be honest with them about your garnishments and your desire to not only do well in your job but to use these garnishments as an opportunity to fulfill your financial obligations.

This open channel of communication can help your employer understand your need to keep your job and better understand your personal situation straight from you, not a court order.

What happens if my employer does not send in child support payments?

While your employer is responsible for sending your child support payments and garnishments to the state, you are ultimately responsible for making sure the payment makes it to your child.

While this is stressful, it’s important to know this responsibility. If your employer does not send the funds for some reason, you still need to pay the child support to keep from falling behind.

Sometimes, these missed payments by your company may be the result of office turnover or a clerical error. If you notice child support funds were taken but not paid to the state, be sure to immediately notify your company so they can send these funds over.

Normally notifying your employer will be enough to correct the issue but it is still important to retain copies of your pay stubs to show the child support deductions have been taken from your paycheck. This proves useful in the unfortunate event you have to take your employer to court for not passing along the deductions on a regular basis.

Child support as an independent contractor.

Being an independent contractor means you don’t have a payroll team processing your deductions for you. This doesn’t mean you are off the hook for paying any court-ordered child support.

In this case, you are now responsible for manually paying your child support. This requires you to send your payments each month to the state or guardian of your child. If you do not send your payments as required, you will likely face one of the many punishments that the court can hand down for child support cases.

So while being an independent contractor may mean more money or the ability to practice in your chosen profession, it also means you are responsible for maintaining any child support payments or garnishments on your own.

If this is your situation and you are not 100% sure about the process, it may be helpful to reach out to an attorney or financial consultant to help guide you in how the process, calculations and documentation works.

How does child support work if I live in a different state than my child?

When you do not work in the same state that your child lives in, your child support deductions will work in two ways.

Child support will be paid for as long – and for as much – as the state that gave you the court order requires. You will not, however, be garnished over the maximum percentage for the state you live in. It will only be deducted for your state’s required deductions.

So, for example, if you work in Idaho and your child support order comes from California, your paycheck will be deducted for the amount the California judge determines is your monthly payment. You will not, however, have to pay the mandatory deductions that California requires. Instead, you will pay for what Idaho requires, which are simply state and federal taxes. If you were also being garnished for child support arrears, you would only be garnished at Idaho’s rate rather than California’s.

Find your state’s information.

If you would like to know more about your state’s child support withholding practices, such as specific garnishment percentages or mandatory deductions that will come out of a paycheck before child support, you can find that information here. If you have further questions about child support and how it affects you, be sure to check out our companion article, that discusses paying child support when you are unemployed.


This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. When considering your child support options, you should seek the advice of legal counsel.