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Working out the amount to deduct

When working out the Direct Earnings Attachment deduction, you must:

  • ensure your employee has enough net earnings in the pay period for you to calculate a deduction
  • check you have applied the correct percentage rate against those net earnings
  • check the total of all the deductions do not leave the employee with less than the protected earnings proportion. This is 60% of their total net earnings during the period for which the deduction applies
  • work out the employee’s net earnings
  • use table to find the right deduction percentage rate for the employee’s net earnings
  • apply the percentage figure against the net earnings figure to work out the amount to deduct

A - where earnings are paid weekly

Amount of net earnings Deduction (percentage of net earnings)
Less than £100 Nil
Exceeding £100 but not exceeding £160 3 percent
Exceeding £160 but not exceeding £220 5 percent
Exceeding £220 but not exceeding £270 7 percent
Exceeding £270 but not exceeding £375 11 percent
Exceeding £375 but not exceeding £520 15 percent
Exceeding £520 20 percent

If an employee is paid 2 weekly, divide the total net wage by 2 and use table A to check the percentage rate.

If an employee is paid 4 weekly, divide the total net wage by 4 and use table A to check the percentage rate.

B - where earnings are paid monthly

Amount of net earnings Deduction (percentage of net earnings)
Less than £430 Nil
Exceeding £430 but not exceeding £690 3 percent
Exceeding £690 but not exceeding £950 5 percent
Exceeding £950 but not exceeding £1160 7 percent
Exceeding £1160 but not exceeding £1615 11 percent
Exceeding £1615 but not exceeding £2240 15 percent
Exceeding £2240 20 percent

For each pay period when you calculate the DEA deduction, you may also take up to £1 from your employee’s earnings towards administrative costs. You can take this even if it reduces the employee’s income below the protected earnings proportion.

The exact amount of the net wage is used against table A and B. If the percentage amount calculated results in a fraction of a penny, it is rounded to the nearest whole penny, with a result of exactly half a penny being rounded down to the nearest whole penny below, as follows:

  • net wage £235.63 a week
  • £235.63 x 7 percent = £16.4941
  • weekly deduction = £16.49
  • net wage £1,547.99 a month
  • £1,547.99 x 11 percent = £170.278
  • monthly deduction = £170.28

If an employee’s wages include holiday pay paid in advance, average the net wage and apply the percentage rate to the average figure. For example:

The employee received one week’s wage and 2 weeks holiday pay. Total net payment for 3 weeks = £850.

  • £850 ÷ 3 = £283.33
  • £283.33 x 11 percent = £31.17
  • total deduction from the net wage for 3 weeks of £850 = £93.51 (£31.17 x 3)

If you fail to take a deduction from the employee’s net earnings when you should have or you take an incorrect amount, correct it on the next payday or paydays.

If the incorrect amount is because the deduction was less than the amount specified under the regulations you should:

  • deduct the amount required for the current pay period
  • then include the difference between the incorrect and correct amount for the previous period

Where the incorrect amount is because the deduction was more than the amount specified under the regulations you should:

  • deduct the amount required for the current pay period
  • then reduce that deduction amount by the excess previously taken

It is important to note that if a deduction is reduced in any week or month simply because the DEA along with any other orders in place will breach the protected earnings limit of 60% this is NOT considered a shortfall as described above. A shortfall only occurs when an incorrect amount has been deducted in error, or where one or more deductions have been missed.

The total to be deducted, including adjustments for an incorrect deduction, along with other deductions in place, must not leave the employee with less than the protected earnings limit of 60% for each pay period.

Courts can make orders that mean you must take money directly from your employee’s earnings in a similar way to how we ask you to make deductions for a DEA. For example, your employee may have an Attachment of Earnings Order (England & Wales) or a Deduction from Earnings Order (for Child Maintenance). The DEA can be imposed without a court order, but if your employee has any other deduction orders against them there are rules that tell you which money you should take first.

If your employee has one or more of the following in place, they will take priority over a DEA:

England and Wales

  • Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) from the Child Maintenance Group (CMG)
  • Attachment of Earnings Order (AEO) for Maintenance or Fines
  • Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Order (CTAEO)
  • Student Loan Repayment
  • Direct Earnings Attachment from the DWP (DEA - DWP)

Scotland

  • Deduction of Earnings Order (DEO) from CMG
  • Conjoined Arrestment Order (CAO)
  • Earnings Arrestment (EA)
  • Student Loan Repayment
  • Current Maintenance Arrestment (CMA)
  • Direct Earnings Attachment from the DWP (DEA - DWP)

Where you already have either an EA or CMA in place for an employee and you receive a DEA notice from us, you do not have to apply to the courts for a conjoined order. Applying for a conjoined order only applies where you receive other Scottish orders.

Once these priority orders have been taken into account in your calculation a DEA that we issue will then take priority in relation to other orders or notices in date order (in Scotland this will be the date they were received). The amount you can deduct will be subject to the available net earnings above the protected earnings limit of 60% of net earnings.

If the weekly or monthly earnings are below the threshold (see tables A and B) you cannot calculate a DEA deduction. You must tell us why you cannot apply a deduction using a Direct Earnings Attachment payments schedule.

You must continue to calculate if a DEA deduction can be made, each pay period until either we tell you to stop or your employee leaves your employment.

If your employee thinks the amount of money they owe is wrong, you should advise them to contact us by calling 0300 304 8000.

If the employee thinks that the amount you have calculated is too much, you should check the amount you are deducting is correct according to payments counted as earnings, based on their earnings and other orders in place. If the amount is correct, explain you have been told to apply the deduction. If they feel this is too much for them to manage, you should tell them to contact us.

Once you have started operating a DEA, you must continue to pay us until we tell you to stop or you have deducted the maximum amount that needs to be recovered from the earnings. We shall contact you when deductions are to stop or if the amount deducted needs to change.

If there is a change of circumstances that means that you can no longer operate the DEA, you must write to us within 10 days of that change happening. We may be able to speed up the administration process if you telephone us on 0300 304 8000.