An attachment of earnings order is regularly used by the team at Woodstock Legal Services to recover sums owed to their creditor clients. The court will order a debtor’s employer to divert some of their wages to the court, which is then paid to creditors to repay existing debts. And whilst there are rarely large lump sums obtained, it is a useful method of recovery over time.
An attachment of earnings order can only be issued once a County Court Judgment has been obtained and only if the debtor is employed. If the debtor is self-employed, this type of debt enforcement is not possible and other options would need to be explored.
There are groups of earnings to which an attachment can be taken and groups which you can’t:
What counts as earnings?
- overtime pay
- occupational pensions, if paid with wages or salary
- compensation payments
- statutory sick pay
- payment in lieu of notice
- most other payments on top of wages
What does not count as earnings?
- statutory maternity pay
- statutory adoption pay
- ordinary statutory paternity pay
- statutory shared parental pay
- any pension, benefit, allowance, or credit paid by DWP, a local authority or Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- a guaranteed minimum pension under the Pensions Scheme Act 1993 (b)
- amounts paid by a public department of the Government of Northern Ireland or anywhere outside the United Kingdom
How is an attachment of earnings calculated?
The amount an employer will deduct from a debtor’s salary each month will depend on the debtor’s take-home pay and disposable income.
The courts will write to the debtor, informing them that the attachment of earnings is being considered. Then, the debtor will need to write back to provide information about their financial situation. Forthwith, the debtor will need to work out their budget and provide all details within this form and return it to the courts within eight calendar days. If they ignore the letter they could be invited for questioning or even prosecuted.
Once the courts have the income details, they use the table below to work out what percentage will be deducted from the debtor’s earnings each month.
At Woodstock, they review all options for enforcement and advise their clients on the best method of enforcement to recover sums owed by that particular debtor.
|Daily Earnings||Weekly Earnings||Monthly Earnings||Deduction rate to apply (percentage of net earnings)|
|Up to £15||Up to £100||Up to £430||Nil|
|Between £15.01 and £23||Between £100.01 and £160||Between £430.01 and £690||3|
|Between £23.01 and £32||Between £160.01 and £220||Between £690.01 and £950||5|
|Between £32.01 and £39||Between £220.01 and £270||Between £950.01 and £1160||7|
|Between £39.01 and £54||Between £270.01 and £375||Between £1160.01 and £1615||11|
|Between £54.01 and £75||Between £375.01 and £520||Between £1615.01 and £2240||15|
|£75.01 or more||£520.01 or more||£2240.01 or more||20|
By Aaron Sambells, Senior Debt Recovery Specialist at Woodstock Legal Services