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Creditor takes money from your wages

This advice applies to Scotland

What happens when wages are arrested

Anyone who is employed (apart from serving members of the armed forces) can have some of their wages arrested. This may be referred to as an earnings arrestment. This method cannot be used with someone who is self-employed.

A creditor who uses this way of making you pay your debt must have served a charge for payment or charge to pay and given you a Debt Advice and Information Package explaining your rights and encouraging you to go for advice. If the creditor has not done this, arresting your wages is illegal unless the creditor is one of the agencies with special power to take funds from your earnings (see below).

Instructions for the arrestment are sent to your employer by the creditor or creditors. Some of your wages are protected from being arrested, for example, a disablement pension or allowance. You may find it helpful to discuss the following steps with your employer.

It may be worthwhile to double check that the arrestment is legal and that the money is owed. If the creditor has not issued a Debt Advice and Information Pack (DAIP) then the procedures have not been followed correctly and you can argue that the arrestment is not legal.

Step 2: Has the employer followed the correct rules for deductions of pay

There are strict rules about how much can be deducted from your wages. This is laid out in the appendices below.

More than one creditor

When more than one creditor wants to arrest money from your wages the employer has to stick to the limits laid out in law. 

There is a complicated set of rules about how much each creditor can get and you may need advice from a specialist adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Deductions from earnings without a court order

There are two other ways in which money can be deducted from earnings. In each the deductions can take place without the creditor actually going to court. These are:

  • Deductions from Earnings Order (DEO) for arrears of child support. This can only be used by the Child Support Agency or the Child Maintenance Service
  • Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) for overpayment of benefit. This is used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

When either of these government agencies uses its enforcement powers to recover funds with a DEO or a DEA the rules that have to be followed, if there are other arrestments or attachments in force, are complicated and you should seek specialist advice about these rules. You can get more advice about wages arrestment and how much can be taken towards your debts from a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Restrictions in your employment contract

Your employer may, as a condition of your employment, have a clause in the contract that states that wages arrestment is a matter for which you should be disciplined. This is common practice in some areas of work, for example, in the financial institutions. You may therefore need specialist employment advice as well as debt advice, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

How much can be taken from your earnings

The amount taken will depend on how much you earn and whether it is paid to you daily, weekly or monthly. There is a table below for daily, weekly and monthly earnings. The wages that can be arrested can include commissions, bonuses and Statutory Sick Pay.

If you have difficulty understanding how much can be taken from your earnings you can get help, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Table 1. How much can be deducted from weekly earnings from 6 April 2016. These figures are still correct for 2018.

Net earnings (per week)

Deductions (per week)

Not exceeding £113.68

Nil

Exceeding £113.68 but not exceeding £410.90

£4 or 19% of earnings exceeding £113.68 whichever is the greater

Exceeding £410.90 but not exceeding £617.82

£56.47 plus 23% of earnings exceeding £410.90

Exceeding £617.82

£104.06 plus 50% of earnings exceeding £617.82

Table 2: How much can be deducted from monthly earnings from 6 April 2016. These figures are still correct for 2018.

Net earnings (per month)

Deductions (per month)

Not exceeding £494.01

Nil

Exceeding £494.01 but not exceeding £1,785.61

£15 or 19% of earnings exceeding £494.01 whichever is the greater

Exceeding £1,785.61 but not exceeding £2,684.51

£245.40 plus 23% of earnings exceeding £1,785.61

Exceeding £2,684.51

£452.15 plus 50% of earnings exceeding £2,684.51

Table 3: How much can be deducted from daily earnings from 6 April 2016. These figures are still correct for 2018.

Net earnings (per day)

Deductions (per day)

Not exceeding £16.24

Nil

Exceeding £16.24 but not exceeding £58.70

£0.50 or 19% of earnings exceeding £16.24 whichever is the greater

Exceeding £58.70 but not exceeding £88.26

£8.07 plus 23% of earnings exceeding £58.70

Exceeding £88.26

£14.87 plus 50% of earnings exceeding £88.26

 

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