Home > Earnings & Deductions > What counts as earnings?

What counts as earnings?

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 31 March 2014 |
 
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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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
I am in the same position, I have been paying my ex-partner £250 per month on a personal agreement without CSA involvement for the past 5 years plus money for after school activities, clothes etc. She got wind of my change of job after my last contract ended and had me investigated thinking that now I work in London I earn a high salary, when the truth of the matter is, it’s the only place I could find work. I bring home £1800 per month under full time employment, to support my wife and 8 month old daughter, we privately rent our own home on a single income, claim no benefits and like everybody else have cut back on things we cannot afford. I have a travel expense of £560 per month just to get to work on the train which they don’t take in to account during my appeal. After the CSA investigation they now want £570 per month and arrears directly from my wages starting in September back dating from when I switched jobs. I am in shock and awe at how badly the system is run, it seems much geared toward to the mother in most cases. To make matters worse, my ex-partner has a decent council house, contributions toward her council tax, a brand new car, several holidays a year and had been fraudulently claiming child benefits alongside my payments from 2007. She works as a mobile hair dresser but stays under the tax radar (cash payments) She also works 4 hours a week voluntarily as a school dinner lady so she can receive extra tax credits. The CSA didn’t even seem bothered when I reported the fraudulent claims which they made evident to me, even after providing all my bank statements. It’s come to the point where I have had to now hand in my notice, I love my Job but being issued with a DEO notice starting in September will leave me with a deficit of £300 a month and unable to live let alone travel to work. We struggle already, but at this point I might as well give up my career and start working in Tesco and claiming benefits like the rest of the country! I have worked since I left college 16 years ago and have never been unemployed or claimed benefits of any type; I have battled to get in to a decent career only to have it wiped out by a greedy ex-partner who is already benefitting from the system in so many ways. Rant over
Quaver - 28-Aug-12 @ 3:56 PM
Does anyone know if youve set up a private agreement and pay in into her bank account. if she contacts the csa will they do anything? and do they take into account loans thats were taken out whilst they were together?
charlie - 5-Aug-12 @ 9:22 AM
Fault of CSA I'm really worked up at the moment because of this set of incompetent idiots! My husband recieved a letter from the CSA today after a reassessment of his finances. He has paid £40 a month for the last 5 years for his 2 children, this was the amount the CSA told him to pay at the original assessment. My husband was never married to his partner and has fought her in court for the last 3-4 years to be able to see his daughters. We only met just over 2 years ago and got married last year, And I love his daughters to bits and they love me too . I am disabled but my benefits cannot be taken into account because Im on contribution based (I worked 32 years fulltime before I could no longer work). They put his payments up to £45 a week and was being backed dated to December last year, he rang them to find out why the arrears. My husband explained he would pay the new amount but as he only comes home with £800 a month it woud be impossible to find a £1000,00 plus. He was then imformed that even though he had paid what he was told he actually owed £7,500.00 in arrears!!! And they are going to take £267 a month now which there is no way on this earth we can afford and this is down to very bad work practices of the CSA and not my husbands fault, he would have paid the correct amount if he had been told it 5 years ago. Im just wondering if anyone could help please, surely they cant demand he pays for their incompetence????. They actually told him it was his employers fault, how the hell they worked that one out I dont know. I really dont know if we can afford to stay together anymore and its heartbreaking. His ex actually had me investigated by the police and social services 3 weeks after we got married because she and her mother forced my stepdaughters to say I had assaulted them with my walking stick!!!!!!!. Thankfully the police and social services realised it was a pack of lies as the girls stories kept changing. I have a fantastic relationship with them Fedup123
Fedup123 - 20-Jul-12 @ 9:29 PM
AND JUST TO ADD TO CONFUSED--- WHY AN EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU CAN JUSTIFY TAKING ANOTHER WOMANS HARD EARNED MONEY??? JUST BECAUSE YOUR EX DOES NOT WORK- DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO TAKE HIS PARTNER'S MONEY. SHE GOES OUT AND EARNS THAT FOR HER FAMILY AND HER FAMILY ONLY- NOT TO LINE YOUR POCKETS. YOU PWC ARE JUST A LOAD OF GREEDY %t£&£("("
Kirsty - 20-Jul-12 @ 5:34 PM
WELL SAID Rachel 22. So many GREEDY mothers out there. Who do they think they are trying to take their child's Father's new partner's earnings?? What a disgrace to even think about it!!!!I do believe this is the old rules and no longer happens anymore.
Kirsty - 20-Jul-12 @ 5:32 PM
my ex partner is moving away with my daughter by approx 100 miles, i have been seeing her whilst living here every other weekend. it will incur a lot of cost to see her every other weekend to drive to see her, can this be taken from the cost of the maintanance as it is not my fault she is moving away?
russ - 16-Jul-12 @ 10:04 PM
I have ben fined £100.00 per week from 1994...1996 for not giving enough information to the csa it amounts to over £8,000 im on a low income and they take £82.00 per week leaving me with £143.00 now my only option is to quit the job and claim benifits...how can i pay bills on my own ..my child is now 20 years of age ffs ...if i committed a crime i would be able to offer the courts an amount that suits so why do they ruin lives ...iam currently still awaiting an outcome 10 weeks later plz help !!!!! when i call they pass me around then its set in stone tough attitude ..
rockrepublic - 15-Jul-12 @ 1:44 PM
My situation is very similar to the one posted below by stillwannabeagooddad. I met my ex partner in early 2010 and after a whilrlwind romance we were both delighted to discover that she was pregnant. We never got married but she moved to England in Nov 2010 and started living with me. Our baby arrived in February 2011 and on her request I agreed to have the delivery in Germany and was present when my girl was born. After that we came back to England and continued to live here until May 2012. We had differences and disagreements but nothing earth shaking.Early in may 2012she announced that she has decided to go back to Germany and would continue living there. I begged her to not take our daughter away to Germany but she flatly refused. (She has a German passport and as so does our baby girl because she was born in Germany). Now she asks me to come fly to Germany, stay in Hotels and see my child one weekend a month! I have done this already and it costs £600 - £700 a trip - all expenses included! Plus she insists I now start paying her Euro 1000 per month - or else she will go to the German child agency an organisation called (Kreisausschuss des Lahn-Dill-Kreises, Abt. Kinder- und Jugendhilfe, Beistandschaften und Vormundschaften ) and they will deduct Euro 1000 from my salary at source! I have offered to pay her £350 per month for our 16 month old but she does not accept this). I simply cannot afford to pay the amount she demands AND the cost of travelling to see my little one. The emotional pain that this causes me as a father is obvious. can anyone help me, advise me on what options I have as I am very worried that I will lose being part of my bay girls entire childhood and become financially broke!
Allformybaby - 26-Jun-12 @ 4:29 PM
Ok I have a complicated one. Me and my ex have a little girl. My ex is currently serving in Germany. Everything was amicable until recently when I informed her my new partner was pregnant. Now all contact has been broken. This has all happened recently and I of course hope that things will calm down and I can have access to my little girl again. I was previously travelling out once a month to spend a wkd there sleeping on her sofa but now that hospitality will no longer be available. The costs of paying 15% of my salary (which is an agreement between me and my ex) plus the travelling costs have been killing me. If I now have to pay to stay in a hotel as well I will not be able to afford to see my little girl at all or at least not as often. It is all ready hard for my little getting used to me each visit as she is only 18 month old as it is and without regular Skype access as well I fear that she may not even remember me. I have no objections paying towards the up bringing of my daughter and would love to pay more but my finances simply won't allow it. Has anyone any help or advice because i am worried sick?
Stillwannabeagooddad - 16-Jun-12 @ 1:53 PM
i think the whole system is a joke. the csa are all man haters. even a lady at the citizens advice bureau said so. i have recently had a promotion at work and now have to pay £100-140 per week. why should my ex benefit from me working hard and trying to get on the ladder. ive always paid for my children and always will. i just think its disgraceful that she works 2-3 days a week, claims benefits, and gets help with rent and council tax. and i have to give her nearly £600 a month on top of it all! wheres the justice in that! i think its so, so wrong that women use children as weapons, just to line their pockets and benefit themselves!
lee evans - 8-Jun-12 @ 6:52 PM
Hi, why is it that the CSA do not take into consideration things that you have to pay by law i.e. Council Tax, TV licence? I was asked about my partner earnings also, yet they do not ask or take into consideration my ex's income. Afetr I pay my rent and usal bills i am now left with less to live on a week than I pay in CSA. I might as well give up work sit on my backside and claim benifits like most of the mothers are all ready doing.
gunner - 8-Jun-12 @ 9:22 AM
Please can someone clarify if Tax Credits are classed as earnings? My husband has 2 children from his first marriage and we have 2 together. We are seriously struggling to make ends meet. We both work and received working tax credits and child tax credits (which assit us with childcare as our children are under 5). If we were to loose 20% of his earnings and 20% of our tax credits we would soon end up missing mortgage payments, nursery bills etc etc. We would end up homeless and jobless and would need to turn to the social services for somewhere to live, unemployment benefit, council tax benefit and all other benefits that homeless, jobless people with children are entitled to. This would end up costing the governement and therefore the taxpayer a great deal more than the small amount we receive in tax credits. The only solution I can see if the CSA does decide to take all of this money from myself, my children and my husband is for my husband to leave us. How can it be right for another set of children to grow up without a resident father? How can it be right for my children to go without for his ex wife (who was given the house, has tax credits and a job) to take from us?
makingendsmeet - 31-May-12 @ 11:30 AM
does anyone know, if the none parent remarries, does the total household income get calculated ? thanks
need2know - 28-May-12 @ 10:49 PM
My ex has an 11 yr old daughter and we share joint custody of her with his ex.He doesnt pay maintance as they had an agreement that they shared the upkeep of their daughter.His ex now thinks that when we get married next year she is entitled to take him to the CSA for my earnings.I treat his daughter like my own and take her on shopping sprees with me but his ex thinks that we dont do enough.We take her on holiday once a year, have her every other weekend and 2 nights in the week Am i being unreasonable not wanting to pay towards CSA when i pay enough as it is.
tjm - 28-May-12 @ 3:44 PM
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