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General Laws

Section 28. If wages for personal labor or personal services of a defendant are attached for a debt or claim, an amount not exceeding the greater of 85 per cent of the debtor’s gross wages or 50 times the greater of the federal or the Massachusetts hourly minimum wage for each week or portion thereof out of the wages then due to the defendant for labor performed or services rendered during each week for which such wages were earned but not paid shall be reserved in the hands of the trustee and shall be exempt from such attachment. Except as otherwise permitted by law, amounts held by a trustee for a defendant in a pension shall be reserved in the hands of the trustee and shall be exempt from attachment. For the purpose of this section, the word “pension” shall mean any annuity, pension, profit sharing or other retirement plan subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, any plan maintained by one or more self-employed individuals as a Keogh Plan, so-called, any plan maintained by a corporation or other business organization pursuant to section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code but not subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, any Simplified Employee Plan, annuity plan to which the provisions of section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code apply or an Individual Retirement Account or Annuity maintained by an individual, or any annuity or similar contract distributed from or purchased with assets distributed from any of the foregoing; provided, however, that this definition shall not apply to sums deposited, determined without regard to deposits pursuant to a rollover or transfer except to the extent protection under this section would have been limited in the absence of a rollover or transfer, in any plan maintained by an individual, whether or not self-employed, during the five year period preceding the individual’s declaration of bankruptcy or entry of judgment in excess of 7 per cent of the total income of such individual for such period. The amount reserved under this section shall be paid by the trustee to the defendant in the same manner and at the same time as such amount would have been paid if no such attachment had been made. Every writ of attachment shall contain a statement of the amount exempted from attachment under this section and also a direction to the trustee to pay over the exempted amount as provided in this section.

The provisions of this section shall not apply in any proceeding to attach wages or a pension to satisfy a divorce, separate maintenance or child support order of a court of competent jurisdiction, and in such actions, including an action for trustee process to enforce a support order under section 36A of chapter 208, the provisions of federal law limiting the amounts which may be trusteed, assigned or attached in order to satisfy an alimony, maintenance or child support order shall apply in lieu of said provisions of this section.

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