Home > Earnings & Deductions > What counts as earnings?

What counts as earnings?

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 13 March 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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[Add a Comment]
@Viking - so basically the CSA is saying is the fact you don't pay rent gives you more disposable income. I don't really have an answer to this I'm afraid as this is the CSA law and I certainly couldn't advise on finding loopholes in the system. However, if you are unhappy with the ruling you can complain via the link here. You would have to really justify that you were earning less than someone on a low income that both has to pay rent and still has to pay child support.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-15 @ 11:06 AM
@maybe - I don't imagine they would as expenses are not income.
Gary - 13-Mar-15 @ 2:29 PM
I live in NZ and pay my child support to the NZIRD who then transfer the sum to the CSA. I have just had a new assessment carried out by the CSA, I live rent free due to my low income, my parents own the property, their feelings are as I am paying child support this will help me survive in life. The recent assessment by the CSA are claiming the rent I am not paying is being classed as income, so this means an increase with my payments. I feel this is grossly unfair, as it appears to me they are simply creating income that does not exist. Please advise me in this matter, thank you.
Viking - 12-Mar-15 @ 9:56 PM
Hi, I am a temporary worker and I am wondering if the csa will make a deduction against my gross pay, this is reduced using my expenses, for example; If I earn £400 gross and I have £100 expenses, the expenses are deducted before tax & NI, so I get taxed * NI on £300, please can you help
maybe - 12-Mar-15 @ 2:04 PM
@bobby - it may come under 'other financial commitments in child maintenance cases', see link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Mar-15 @ 2:53 PM
Do the csa take in to account that I'm paying the mortgage each monthand its in my name but she's living there still with my son and her son from a previous. Itl work out Il be paying out over half my wages with csa and mortgage. Any advice
bobby - 4-Mar-15 @ 8:48 AM
@gills - you need to follow this up directly with the CSA if you think your ex's boss is in receipt of false payslips as this would be illegal. They may be able to check through his bank account what money is going in.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Mar-15 @ 1:51 PM
my ex partner was refusing to give me child maintance, so i went through csa n he managed to give payslips for just under £200 that he says was just earning, he has worked there as a machanic since he was 17 n now 34. is this not against the law to under pay at min rate and especially when he has worked there for 17 year? there must be a law for people who tell lies n for there bosses to provide false payslips. its totally against the law and to cheat there payments to there children, how is this fare?????????????
gills - 28-Feb-15 @ 4:13 PM
if my ex, the dad of my 2 kids decides to be fulltime parent at home and his wife works full time, is he still to provide child maintance with her income?
gills - 28-Feb-15 @ 3:48 PM
@sadphil01 - I have directed you to a Child Maintenance Options page on grand-parenting and child maintenance herethat I hope will help and which has contact details on, should you need to get in touch to speak with someone directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Feb-15 @ 11:52 AM
So I have both my grandsons living with us (my partner has MS & I am her carer) as their mother is an alcoholic. They have different fathers, one who has never paid maintenance, & one who paid £20 per week until his son reached 18. The oldest is now in full time education & we were wondering if we ask for maintenance, how it affects our claim for pension credit & our finances in general. He should have been paying far more as he was a sergeant in the police on around £40 a year, who retired on a pension of just a little bit less but now works at a hotel & his wife is also a police officer!
sadphil01 - 11-Feb-15 @ 3:19 PM
Hi please can someone clear up on the new CMS if the paying parent claims working tax credits and child tax credits for his 2 children he has with a new partner do these count as income and a % get given to his ex? Thanks
Jammer - 5-Feb-15 @ 6:51 PM
I spilt from my three children's father 12 years ago. He refused to pay maintenance, I therefore couldn't afford to continue working (the two youngest were at nursery) so went on income support. The csa contacted me and three years and a deduction of earnings order later I finally got some maintenance.It stayed the same for years. I asked the csa to look at his wages as I knew he was earning considerably more.They assessed that his earnings had indeed increased significantly over the years, of course I would only get paid from the day it was assessed, even though his lifestyle demonstrated he'd been earning more for years. Eight months later, I still wasn't getting the increase. They looked into it and some mistake had been made with the deduction of earnings order. I would of course have my money backdated. The increase was £60. A week. He was awarded compensation for their mistake and allowed to pay what he owed at £60 a month. He then offered them two very low wage slips and maintenance was reduced to lower than it had been in 2005. Given that his gets £1000 yearly raise this was questionable. They refused to reassess so I wrote to my MP. They reassessed and my maintenance went back up. He took a load of time off, reduced his maintenance again. I appealed, a judge looked at all his wage slips and P60 and decided maintenance should be worked out on the p60. The CSA obeyed this for a year. They then returned to the wage slips he had provided with lump sum pension payments just before the appeal. He then got married. His wife is living with him and brings a wage into the household. She rents out her property. Their household income has therefore increased. This has enabled him to vastly increase his pension payments, reducing my maintenance payments by £60. a week.Whilst I don't think it's fair that her wages be taken into consideration, surely Capitol from property should be. They are a couple, she will benefit from his pension as he benefits from the money gained from renting out her property. I can't afford to pay hardly anything into my pension. If I did my children would not be able to do anything, their dad certainly will not pay for anything.Amazing, when he had to pay maintenance arrears he could only afford £60 a month, yet he can afford to make pension payments of £800. a month! How is this fair? Why is it more important for him to have a pension than my children to have what they need. We have had one foreign holiday in 13 years. He has four a year. I look after them and do everything. Yes he us forced to pay maintenance but every penny goes to them, school bus fare, school trips, school holidays, outside school activities not to mention living expenses and clothes. It adds up to more than triple what he pays in maintenance, yet the government says it should be shared. It just goes to show the worth our government places on children and those who raise them
Vexed - 5-Feb-15 @ 4:07 PM
@stressedmom - as specified in the article employers can 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 which can be subjected to deductions for child maintenance. Many resident parents have similar problems when their ex's are self-employed as earnings can be attributed to expenses or other variants. I'm afraid if the CMS have reviewed his salary, there is little you can do, apart from make it known to the CMS how this affects your children's living standards.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Jan-15 @ 10:37 AM
Hi, looking for some advice please.Just after CMS did annual review they worked out my exes salary to be £67,000 (it was £53,000 the previous year)They sent me new payment details of what I would be receiving for my twins.2 weeks later I get a letter stating his salary has decreased and is now £42,000!!!!Found out it's due to him now suddenly paying into his works pension - he has worked at the same company for over 20 years, and the company contribute 12% themselves, regardless whether employee contributes or not.So basically he has reduced his salary by 37%.I do not believe this is fair.Yes, people need to put into their pensions, but he has 2 children to support TODAY.Are there any guidelines as to what pension percentage is acceptable? Thanks in advance.
stressedmom - 28-Jan-15 @ 9:13 PM
@sue - The Child Maintenance Service will find out the paying parent’s yearly gross income. I have included the gov.uk site on how payments are worked out here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jan-15 @ 10:53 AM
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
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