Home > Earnings & Deductions > What counts as earnings?

What counts as earnings?

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 25 January 2015 |
Earnings Csa Maintenance Child Deduction

The CSA calculates child maintenance payments on the basis of your income. One of the options for enforcement is taking a deduction from your earnings in order to satisfy your child maintenance payments. A Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) is a secure method of collection of child maintenance as it is paid directly by the employer of the non-resident parent to the CSA, which then passes it on to the resident parent.

How Do DEOs Work?

DEOs work in a very similar way to Attachment of Earnings Orders, which are used to collect debts for things like county court judgments and fines. You should be aware that it is not up to your employer as to whether they should deduct earnings from your pay or not. It is a discretion of the CSA, and if an employer fails to cooperate with a DEO then they can be prosecuted and may also be required to pay a fine.

What Are My 'Earnings'?

It is sometimes confusing as to what ‘earnings’ actually are for these purposes, and it can leave you wondering how much of the money you receive will be deemed to be your earnings as regards child support payments.

For the purposes of the CSA, earnings are the funds that are taken into account after the deduction of income tax, national insurance contributions and pension contributions. Pension contributions must be regular, and lump sum payments are unlikely to count. If in doubt, you should seek advice on this.

Money That Is Not Classed As Earnings

Money that an individual receives that are not classed as ‘earnings’ include: statutory payments made by an employer for reasons of maternity, paternity, redundancy or adoption pay; tax credits; social security pension, benefit or allowance, any payments made under a disability pension or benefit; or a guarantee payment under social security pensions legislation. If you receive any of these kinds of payments and they are your sole income, your employer cannot use this payment to deduct child support from your earnings.

Money That Is Classed As Earnings

Employers can however deduct money from the following types of earnings: private pensions, occupational pensions; wages; overtime pay; bonuses; commission; or any payments that are made on top of a person’s wages. In addition, it is possible to deduct from an individual’s statutory sick pay. If your employer pays you ‘contractual’ maternity, paternity, redundancy or adoption pay, this is classed as ‘earnings’ and can be subjected to deductions for child maintenance.

Difference Between Contractual And Statutory Pay

The difference between ‘contractual’ and ‘statutory’ in these circumstances is that for contractual pay, the amount that you are paid is determined by your contract with your employer. ‘Statutory’ pay is a minimum amount of money to which you are entitled by law. Contractual pay is therefore higher than statutory pay. If you are receiving contractual pay in these circumstances, the deduction cannot be so high that it eats into your statutory pay.

If you are on statutory maternity, paternity or adoption pay, you may be subject to deductions from your earnings once you choose to return to work. This may be on a voluntary basis, or you may be required to do so.

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I am considering marrying. My fiancée has a child from a previous relationship. He has shared care and pays maintenance, never having missed a payment. We are worried that if we get married the mother of his child will be able to claim on my business earnings and wages. She is extremely antagonistic and volatile. How likely is this and is it possible? We live in N.Ireland and have separate homes.
sue - 25-Jan-15 @ 2:38 PM
@luna - I'm sorry to hear about your son. But, if you want to escape your ex can you not sell up the house and split the costs and be rid of him, which would work better if you want your own privacy? I'm not taking sides here, but he might be angry that you have refused to sell the house and is trying to get back at you in other ways, such as through your child. There are a lot of splits where the other partner is resentful because they can't get what is owed to them through property which is quite understandable when it's half theirs (although it doesn't warrant the backlash that seems to have taken place as a result). You might want to search online for the term parent alienation syndrome, it's now recognised through the courts. But trying to prove it is hard.
Dan - 9-Jan-15 @ 2:15 PM
Advise please,split with my ex after 14 years together. Not married, have 1 beautiful child together who is disabled/terminally ill. Have a mortgage together . when we split he moved out that was 2 years ago. He met someone else and getting married in october this year. He told me to sell up or sign the house over to him. I refused his girlfriend called social services making 20 different alligations..social services assessed me and are happy with things. I contacted csa to make sure he pays correct amount as he is earningat least 30,000 i wanted to settle in private but they are trying to bully me. They are brain washing my son telling him they are better parents etc. i am so upset. please advise if you can many thanks
luna - 8-Jan-15 @ 9:18 PM
@confused His redundancy isn't considered income for assessing ongoing child support. However if the CSA/CMS are collecting maintenance payments then his redundancy can be counted as income when calculating payment of any arrears. I'd talk to the CMS Options and see what they say.
LouLou - 7-Jan-15 @ 12:55 PM
I have been separated from my husband for 9 months. Since I moved out with my daughter 7 months ago my husband set up a standing order to pay me maintenance of 200 pounds a month for our daughter. She stays with him every other weekend only. He is taking voluntary redundancy and will get a large payout of about 30,000. He says he will not be able to pay the maintenance as he's not working and will only give me £50 a month. What are my rights?
confused - 31-Dec-14 @ 2:39 PM
If any receiving parent or paying parent is looking at this, phone up every other day to keep you on top of their list. They do have substantial workloads and unrealistic targets set so please be patient. If possible ask to be put through to a caseworker in Belfast, they are terrific. Trust me, they will get the job done. Be angry at the system, not the caseworker - There is set procedures to follow, listen to what they say and act upon it - The more you contact them the better it is for you, believe me, it shows compliancy - Always hold payment to the side if they/you do not have the Receiving parents bank details, itll bit you in the arse if you dont and be fired onto your arrears - Always ask for regular updates on your payment schedule and ask to be sent one when you feel necessary - there is not a lot to it in order to send one. Just please be patient and understanding and they will too. There is set laws, policies and procedures that have to be followed, it is not that caseworkers fault although you may think it. Majority of the time its the legislation that has screwed you over, or you screwed yourself over, if offered a negotiation on your arrears, do it. If offered to set up a direct debit, do it otherwise it will be coming out of your wage.
MHunt - 21-Dec-14 @ 3:40 AM
I have it both ways no support from the Father of my first two children, although he is off to Florida to get married next week, taking my children with them (first time my 14 year old son has every stayed with him in 9 years) and my 19 year old Student Nurse daughter is paying her own way to go ?????? He owes 30,000 to the CSA but they will never get a penny because he will never pay due to his hatred of me, he made us all homeless got our home repossessed after going round the world and spending loads of money on credit cards in joint name.Then to top it all I re-married and as a couple we are paying £300 child maintenance a month for one child which seems steep to be honest.Sometimes you could just give up, we will never holiday, have no money for the child we have together my husband recently had a heart attack at 47 and I think its due to stress, government needs to look closely at how they manage things its out dated
Hoopsur - 19-Oct-14 @ 6:31 PM
I was in a relationship I am 53 my son is now 4 yrs, I have paid for his nursery since he was 8 months old, £ 550 per month I have paid his mother 400 pounds a month, I service her car and pay the AA. I have him 50% time .buy him clothes and shoes , and he is more happier with me, than her, I no this because the school tell me he gets upset when he noes his mum is picking him up, she works and claims credits, she has loans that she took out to pay of her debts from buying clothes and shoes , she has demanded 1000 for rent or she said she will be out on the street, I just paid her it, .want to get joint custody of our son as it is mutual agreement , should I do this, and she also threatens me with the csa all the time, I am tired of her keep threating me Some one give me some advice please
gunner - 24-Sep-14 @ 8:14 PM
I agreed to pay a fixed monthly sum as child ,maintenance when I divorced. I could just about do this when I was working. I have since been medically retired. My pension is not even enough to pay my rent, and I am having to pay my rent and my maintenance from my pension lump sum now. Unless I can find some suitable work I will not be able to continue this. Also as things continue my capital will fall below the level where I will be able to claim benefits again (I received contributions based ESA previously). Will DWP be prepared to take my maintenance payments into account? If not I am going to end up either homeless or refusing to honour my divorce settlement. I have a number of chronic illnesses and being homeless is impractical. However I find the other possibility highly distasteful.
Ivan - 6-Aug-14 @ 3:46 PM
Im in a right pickle . My new partner has 3 children and is working but on and off so has said he will pay what he can when he has work , I work part time and support my own 2 children and dont get anything from my ex. My partners ex has now said if she dosent get what she wants off him she will go through csa and get it from my wages can she do this ? If so im panicking as I struggle as it is to pay everything for my own children. I agree that my partner should pay for his kids as all parents should but he carnt give her something if he hasnt got it please help
little legs - 6-Aug-14 @ 11:41 AM
I am the grandmother and we are pensioners and we are from South Africa. My 2 grandchildren were sent to me nearly 2 years ago to live with us on the understanding that the father will pay maintenance and support us financiallyfor a better life and for the parents, father UK citizen mother now also UK citizen to sort out theit problems. That was not possibble due to constant domestic abuse and constant bullying (this had a tremenduous emotional affect on the two small children) and the mother left the house Dec 2013 with nothing only a few pieces of furniture, the husband did not support her with anything, she was unemployed, broke without food or anything when she moved into a flat. She has a lot of debt because Mr Always right let her buy the clothes sometimes food furniture and everything else for her and the children in her name. So she is sitting wit the debt and is working now on a contract basis for only the last 3 months and her debt situation etc did deteriorate a lot. He is giving her no financial support, she had to contact teh foodbank for support and we as her parents had to financially support her for months. This has ruined us also financially. She contributes buy clothes etc for the children when she is in a position to do so. He is sending only 100 pounds per month per child, This is not even enough to cover the childrens school fees and aftercare schooling per month. He does not want to give more money to support his children. The children need medical aid to cover their medical expenses, the children has special needs and needs school clothes, winter clothes etc. He is earning no less than 3000 pounds per month, He was married before with no children and trick his first wife out of moneyas well. He has money for overseas holidays , eating out etc. What advise do you have for me to get this LOAFER of a father to support his children as he accepts no resposibilty for the care of his children. They dont have any medical aid we have to pay every doctors bill, medicines, supplements etc that the children need.
Loafer father - 26-Jul-14 @ 3:11 PM
My girlfriend has essentially tricked me, claiming she couldn't get pregnant and raising all manner of hell if I try and use protection. Surprise surprise, she's now pregnant. I am in no way ready, financially or otherwise, for a child, and I've made that clear to her on many occasions. She's planning to go to med school next year and take the baby with her - given her past form, she's likely to cheat and the relationship isn't going to last. If I keep my name off the birth certificate does that have any effect on my maintenance payments?
James - 18-Jun-14 @ 4:30 PM
im with you lee evans, my x found out i got a better paid job and she rang up the csa the very next day and my payments went up from 56 a week to 87 a week..amazingly she has a 3 bed house and a brand new car and holidays abroad every year... i worked hard for 23 years to get to the position i have myself in now, and all the CSA want to do is screw me over.... im not saying all women are the same, but she made it awkward for me to see them and told me she was moving away and gave me an address to where they was moving, did they move, NO... a compulsive liar
myxisarobbingbitch - 21-May-14 @ 7:00 PM
D disappeared with a rich woman, told me he was broke and going bankrupt, got me to leave the home in the property slump, thus came out with £0. Found D though living the high life with rich woman, goes on multiple holidays each year, two or more so far this year, never sees his kids but wants to now just for weekends 2-3 times a year away from where he lives. D gave up his well paid job, doing up a property that his new rich woman owes, thus he has no income, estimated costs of work with the planners £150,000 alone. How much should he pay towards his two sons (15 & 11) that he wants to see at a moment's notice.CSA useless told me to report him for past tax fraud and they will be able to lock him up.Won't be of use to me would it? Just want my boys to go to the pictures, have a couple of days on the beach each year, a little pocket money.I am trapped as if I go back to work, I'll have to pay my rent, I can't win.His rich family don't bother with the kids either. Just want to disappear and lick my wounds, but know that wouldn't be fair on kids.
TRAPPED - 27-Apr-14 @ 8:01 PM
Mine is a question. I have my daughter 2 days per week. I have now lost my job. The daughters mother works full time as does her partner that liv with them. Am I entitled to claim 2 days CSA from the mother now ?
Berty - 31-Mar-14 @ 8:55 AM
I'm struggling to earn a living a pay the rent for a flat which means I can have my daught stay with no security and 2 mths notice to quit if landlord decides. Later this year I will turn 55 and it may be the case that my small pension fund (SIPP) could be worth enough to take a drawdown to buy a business and start earning money again. My question is :- Would the drawdown lump sum be liable for deductions by the CSA ie classed as income or would it be exempt? It may be that I would have enough to buy a house and gain security- same question?
PJ59 - 17-Mar-14 @ 8:18 PM
Regarding the CSA. My experiences have been totally negative - and that is not because I miss CSA payments or don't want to pay CSA. I moved to the UK in 2009 to be closer to my daughter who had left Australia with her mum that same year. She was 5 at the time. After 9 months her mother cut off contact because I started seeing someone. Over a year went by of my trying to get contact. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn't. During the entire time I never missed a payment - directly into her mother's account.Eventually enough was enough and I cut off a weeks payment until she let me see her. I promptly received a call from the CSA saying that they were taking over. It turned out I was paying double my obligation! No refund said the CSA as it was a private agreement and we are only interested in our managed agreements. After a month, for some reason it returned to a private agreement on the new amount.Contact still wasn't happening despite my efforts so I started legal action as well as divorce proceedings. A £10k legal bill later contact was restored via a court order. In addition as part of the divorce settlement I sold my last remaining asset - a house in Australia. The court sanctioned agreement - signed by a judge, me and my ex-wife with two lawyers present stated that I give her the entire equity of the house after costs - 70K. In return the court order stated that the mother does not have the right to claim CSA payments for a period of two years. Done.The day I cleared the money.and I mean the day, I received a call from the CSA stating that they were now taking over payments again. "Excuse me?". It was then I discovered that the CSA have total authority over any court order. All that they need is for the resident parent to contact them and ask for them to take over payments and bang, that's it. The CSA attitude? " Tough, we have authority over the court order. The mother wants us to claim and we don't have a choice". When I asked about the moral obligation and the fact that they (the CSA) have all the documentation to prove what I am saying."We don't care. The judge should have told you. Tough. Pay or we will slap a payment order on you".Now, I don't even know where my daughter lives as her mother moved - a breach of the court order. My funds are exhausted and I am not eligible for legal funding so I contact the CSA about it as I am still not and have not missed any payments. Their attitude?"Sorry about that but whether there is a breach or not doesn't concern us. We are only a debt collection agency. Whether you see your child or not you pay, or we slap you with a payment order".To say I am ready to swing from a rope is an understatement. This organization are not a "joke" as some people put it.they are an utter disgrace. I then wrote three letters to a member of parliament. Response?Nothing. No letter back, not a word.I give up.
DGT74 - 15-Nov-13 @ 6:11 PM
My husband and I have been separated for a year, during this time he has been in another relationship and the female is now pregnant and due in the next few week. Him and I are looking at working out our relationship. I we do get together will my wages be taken into account for the maintenance for this child.
headallovertheplace - 23-Sep-13 @ 3:19 PM
I really need help my husband who I have been separated for 4 years, he was leaving in africa precisely cape verde, while he was there he hasn't helped at all towards the upbringing of the 5 children. After all that time, he came back to the uk ( last April) was only supposed to stay over for 6 weeks but instead hanged around until few weeks ago when he moved out and went to leave with his parents. During that period I provided him with clothes, shoes, food,and the necessary to survive but it didn't work out, over the last 5 months he registered with the job center and didn't get paid his until I believe few ago, he didn't at all with his money. 3 weeks ago he started worked and at the same time still signing on at the job center. Now he is financially stable he is earning £60.000 a year plus 5% of the turnover of the company's business he decided that he want a divorce and is only offering me £400 a months for all 5 children. Child maintenance got in contact with him but he got told that he only has to pay £250/ year because that calculation was based on him signing on. I feel like it is unfair after I have mentioned to child maintenance that he was working and has given them all the details of his job. He will be earning a lot more than £60000 a year it is more likely to be £125.000 or more. I have video recording of him mentioning all this. He is also moving back to cape verde to avoid paying child maintenance as him and his boss agreed to pay him without paying tax due to the fact that he will be living abroad. I really need help I was told if he moves to cape verde that he could refuse to pay maintenance but I was also told that there is a company called REMO that could get the kids maintenance but I am not sure how that works, so if there is any advice or help you could give me I will be grateful.
Angie77 - 22-Sep-13 @ 10:05 PM
No they cannot take any of your income/benefit.
stepmammy-1 - 13-May-13 @ 12:30 PM
if i earn 96.60 how much csa would i have to pay please?
bones - 3-May-13 @ 8:51 PM
hi,please help me after 6 years of a private agreement my x claimed csa,dec 2012,even though i see my kids and pay for everything,stayed during holidays too,had to take par time work only,had to park up my car,cant afford it.Work have just paid me outstanding holidays,from last year,will csa take the money and do i tell them.
tigerchick73 - 21-Jan-13 @ 7:24 PM
Continued try to get more or pay less than they should.
Mealticket? - 7-Jan-13 @ 2:46 PM
Continued The issue I have is, lets say the calculator gives a figure of £600 a month. Does my daughter actually cost that much to keep? If you take the generally held view that a child costs £90000 to bring up, from birth to 16/17. That's between £5000/£6000 per year. Why should I pay over £7000 per year in maintenance? For a start, my daughter is both of ours, we both have a responsibility so surely, if we can both afford it, we should both equally contribute? Let's say we both have a household income of £70000, we should both contribute to our childrens upbringing equally. If my ex was destitute then fine, I should help out more; I can afford it, she can't. But that isn't the case. My ex and her now husband have (I believe) a higher household income than my partner and I. If the new cars and multiple holidays per year are anything to go by I think they're doing pretty well. And I don't begrudge them that, even given shall we say, the circumstances of how they got together, etc. The reality is, if they hadn't have "met" shall we say, I would not now be with my wonderful partner and wouldn't have the family, "old" children and "new" that I now have. So let's say I pay this £600 per month, how much of that do you think will actually be spent, directly or otherwise on my daughter and how much will go towards the next new car and holiday? That might sound resentful and I'll be honest, if the calculation is such that it generates a figure above what is 1. needed and 2. fair then I am resentful! Anyway, I've tried to be fair; I'm happy to pay a half share of my daughters essentials, I'm happy to give her money directly (so I can be sure she at least seems something) I'm not happy that my ex seems to think she has no further responsibility to her son but there you go, I'll have to live with that I guess. The reality is the rules need to change; The FULL HOUSEHOLD incomes of ALL parties should be considered. Yes, I know many on here have decried that but it's the only fair way. It is simply unfair for an already wealthy parent to extract more from an ex-parter than is necessary or fair. If household incomes are equal, so should the contribution be. If one party is richer, they should bear the majority of the burden. Scrap the CSA. It's had lots of time to work smarter and it doesn't. It is lazy in thinking it can apply a blanket calculation to all scenarios. As with anything "the one size fits all theory" never actually does. My (radical) suggestion is that both parties PAY for an independent party to conduct a thorough review of each parties finances and assist in mediating an agreement, where it cannot be agreed, a body be set up to make judgement based on the findings of the review. Where cases cannot be agreed, an adjudicating body be organised to decide, based on the facts presented in the independent review. If this approach achieves one thing it will be to weedle out both claimants and payers who frivolously
Mealticket? - 7-Jan-13 @ 2:46 PM
Hi. Just a few comments rather than anything else... The whole CSA process is it seems to me, inherently flawed. It fails to take into account the intracies of each parties circumstances when calculating what should really be "a fair and proper" contribution. I'll use my situation as an example. My ex-wife and I divorced almost six years ago with my son choosing to live with me as at 13, he was old enough to decide for himself. My daughter was only 8, so she went to live with her mother which to be honest, was the right thing to do. My ex wife and I had a reciprocal agreement whereby I paid for my sons upkeep, she paid for my daughters. We each claimed the respective child benefit, etc but did not contribute towards the others resident child. It was amicably agreed and seemed fair. My ex moved in with her new partner and over the next year, bought a house, had a child and so on. I too moved on and met a new partner who had a child of her own already and we recently have had a new child of our own. Anyway, all has been well for six years until recently.... My son has now started university and lives away during term time, albeit that he will spend pretty much the entirety of his not inconsiderable holidays with us and has a work placement which means he will be living with us one or two nights a week. My ex seems to think that the reciprocal agreement should now end, I'm assuming because she thinks either or both of that because my son is now an adult he no longer gets any support from me or because he is at Uni most of the time he needs no support. Either way, she feels I should now start contributing towards my daughters upkeep. I generally have no issue with this. I am a contractor; when I am working I earn good money but naturally, I'm at the mercy of the market, like any freelancer. My partner does not work, she cares for our baby and intends to do so until she is ready to go to school. I support this and we can afford to do this, providing I'm not out of work for a prolonged period. My ex stated she wished to avoid solicitors and CSA yet still "advised" me to use the CSA calculator. In my response, I declined to do so and calculated my own contribution based on what I believe to be fair and which covers utilities, clothing, food and travel. I already pay my daughter an allowance separately and independently of any calculation. Holidays, gifts, etc are all given independently and I make sure that all the kids, mine, my partners and the the new baby are all treated equally. I didn't include any allowances for any ad-hoc things like holidays as you just don't know when they will happen, how much they will cost, etc. Needless to say, my calculation comes in significantly less than the CSA calculator. And therein lies the flaw; you simply cannot just take a fixed percentage (albeit it varies for nights and resident children) and apply it universally. Everyone's circumstances are different. The issue I have is, lets
Mealticket? - 7-Jan-13 @ 2:43 PM
my ex have never seen his daughter as he never wanted to although i did gave him the option, he signed the birth cetificate but did ask me if i would ever go to him for money. 8 years have past and have struggled with no help from him. I sent a letter to him about 2 mths ago as my daughter wanted to meet him but with no reply, due to my daughter growing up things are getting more expensive now i have decided to contact the CSA. They found him on the system and told me the process, i am a bit unsure if i have done the right thing going through the CSA, also do i need to keep chasing them?
KA75 - 16-Dec-12 @ 7:05 PM
I cannot understand why my ex has still not be found and csa still hasn't managed to sort some payments i have two daughters from him i have been trying to get this claim sorted for over a year , i ring up the csa every month , he is self employed i know he has money he puts things on twitter and face book and the latest he has brought a iPad when i can't even afford to buy a coat hat and gloves for my girls so my mums buying them for xmas.He has had 4 cars since we split i don't even have a car .I have sent details to csa about his business which he has 3 i have sent phone numbers pictures of him and address details and all they can tell me is its in the hands of the bailiffs and they haven't managed to track him down. Something wrong somewhere .
mad women - 5-Dec-12 @ 1:24 PM
Can anybody give me some advise......? I am going through a divorce from my 2nd marriage and living in a 1 bed rented house and luckily no Children are involved.I have been re-assessed by the CSA as I have 2 Children from my 1st marriage whom I have been paying maintenance to for the last 13 years and now I find I physically don't have enough money to pay this after basic living costs and travel to work costs of £350 per month. Can the CSA take into account any travel expenses as Iam going to have to stop paying my Solicitor For my current divorce and concede any rights from my house to my soon to be ex as I can't now afford him. Please help!
bilko - 18-Nov-12 @ 9:49 AM
Why are Child Tax Credits counted as earings in the maintenance calculation, when the leaflet that the CSA sent out (CSL303) saysthat only Working Tax Credit is used?
Andy - 12-Nov-12 @ 4:27 PM
can anyone tell me if rent from a property is counted as income for csa claim against me
csa beginner - 27-Oct-12 @ 11:52 AM
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