Home > Earnings & Deductions > What Counts as Earnings?

What Counts as Earnings?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 20 Jun 2016 |
 
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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Loug73 - Your Question:
My ex-partner pays me child maintenance via mutual agreement every week. However he is apparently going to be on long term sick and states he won't be able to afford to pay me at all. What happens there??

Our Response:
You can continue with the mutual agreement and take into account the fact he will be earning less (if you went through the CMS and CSA and his wages reduced then these agencies would also take this into consideration and reduce his payments accordingly). If your ex is on long term sick, then it depends upon what he will be living on; if he is on a full-time wage, then you would not expect your child maintenance to change. If he will be living on SSP and his income is reduced significantly, then unfortunately so would his maintenance payments to you.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Jun-16 @ 10:56 AM
My ex-partner pays me child maintenance via mutual agreementevery week. . However he is apparently going to be on long term sick and states he won't be able to afford to pay me at all. What happens there??
Loug73 - 20-Jun-16 @ 12:10 PM
Jo B - Your Question:
Hi, I split from my ex 13yrs ago and haven't had a penny out of him since. Although my son is 18 now he is special needs, which has for all these years made me his carer and therefore unable to work can I make a claim against him for loss of income? as I was studying for a degree when he left, and as said haven't been able to work since. Thanks Jo

Our Response:
You don't say why you haven't had money from your ex, therefore it makes it difficult to advise without knowing why he hasn't paid or whether you have made a previous claim. If your ex is earning then you may still be able to make a claim if your son is remaining in education. I suggest in this instance you call the CMS directly for advice, please see link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jun-16 @ 10:56 AM
hi, I split from my ex 13yrs ago and haven't had a penny out of him since. Although my son is 18 now he is special needs, which has for all these years made me his carer and therefore unable to work can I make a claim against him for loss of income? as I was studying for a degree when he left, and as said haven't been able to work since. Thanks Jo
Jo B - 19-Jun-16 @ 5:57 AM
jimmy the fish- Your Question:
Hi, I am looking at receiving a sum in the range of £250,000 to £750,000 in a compensation claim which should be settled by Aug 2017. I am wondering if my ex partner is able to chase me for money for my son? This might get you thinking hang on he gets all this and is asking this what kind of dad is this? Read on.Well what I want to do is put away a lump sum of say £50,000 to £150,000 into a savings account so that when he reaches say 16, 18 or 21 or break it up so that he gets 25% at 16 25% at 18 and the other 50% at 21 when he is more mature. I am asking if she can put in for a claim because I would rather put the money away securely rather than let her flit it away on crap. I am not saying she is a incapable mum but I just want to make sure my son gets the start in life many can dream of. I lived a povish childhood and didn't have any holidays over seas it was the occasional visit to Cleethorpes or Skegness. I would rather put the money into an account safe for when he is older that no one can get their hands on. But am worried because she is asking me questions at the moment about how much my claim is worth. I know as soon as I have been payed out she will try and cash in. If she tries to claim money for my son through maintenance would she have a legal leg to stand on? If I was to prove that I had set aside money for his future would that be taken into account or would they simply say I have to pay for the here and now. Obviously I would still buy him clothes take him on a holiday etc but am worried she is seeing (£)(£) in her eyes. Sorry its long but I aint no good at explaining. Thanks for any info.

Our Response:
You only pay child maintenance on earnings, so while your ex partner may be able to claim on the interest you are earning from these amounts, she could not claim for the amounts as a lump sum. You may also wish to seek legal or financial advice about investing the money for your son.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jun-16 @ 12:25 PM
Hi, I am looking at receiving a sum in the range of £250,000to £750,000 in a compensation claim which should be settled by Aug 2017. I am wondering if my ex partner is able to chase me for money for my son? This might get you thinking hang on he gets all this and is asking this what kind of dad is this? Read on..... Well what I want to do is put away a lump sum of say £50,000 to £150,000 into a savings account so that when he reaches say 16, 18 or 21 or break it up so that he gets 25% at 16 25% at 18 and the other 50% at 21 when he is more mature. I am asking if she can put in for a claim because I would rather put the money away securely rather than let her flit it away on crap. I am not saying she is a incapable mum but I just want to make sure my son gets the start in life many can dream of. I lived a povish childhood and didn't have any holidays over seas it was the occasional visit to Cleethorpes or Skegness. I would rather put the money into an account safe for when he is older that no one can get their hands on. But am worried because she is asking me questions atthe moment about how much my claim is worth. I know as soon as I have been payed out she will try and cash in. If she tries to claim money for my son through maintenance would she have a legal leg to stand on? If I was to prove that I had set aside money for his future would that be taken into account or would they simply say I have to pay for the here and now. Obviously I would still buy him clothes take him on a holiday etc but am worried she is seeing (£)(£) in her eyes. Sorry its long but I aint no good at explaining. Thanks for any info.
jimmy the fish - 6-Jun-16 @ 4:21 PM
if i sell my business for £5000 due to illness will the money be clssed as an income
davi - 27-May-16 @ 6:09 PM
Single mum - Your Question:
Hi, i've ended my relationship with my ex partner. He paid child maintenance as i've contacted the CMS. Recently, he went unemployed so now im not getting any child maintenance. The worse thing is. he sent me a message and said I wont be getting child maintenance as he will be moving abroad and start his new job in a different country. He has not told me which country he's moving to. I believe he will start his new job abroad for a non UK company, as he done so before we got married, as he works as a bodyguard.I done my research. If I apply child maintenance through REMO to collect money from him. The trouble is, I don't know which country he moved to. If he moved abroad with his UK passport and flyed on plane, will the UK government be able to find out which country he moved to? Will it cost me anything to apply REMO from my local magistrates court?I found it very easy to contact the CMS to arrange child maintenance when he disagree with a family based arrangement. Will applying through REMO be as straight forward as CMS? Thanks, Sue

Our Response:
I think in this case you should call REMO as its advisers will be able to help you directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-May-16 @ 1:42 PM
Hi, i've ended my relationship with my ex partner. He paid child maintenance as i've contacted the CMS. Recently, he went unemployed so now im not getting any child maintenance. The worse thing is... he sent me a message and said i wont be getting child maintenance as he will be moving abroad and start his new job in a different country. He has not told me which country he's moving to. I believe he will start his new job abroad for a non UK company, as he done so before we got married, as he works as a bodyguard. I done my research. If i apply child maintenance through REMO to collect money from him. The trouble is, i don't know which country he moved to. If he moved abroad with his UK passport and flyed on plane, will the UK government be able to find out which country he moved to?Will it cost me anything to apply REMO from my local magistrates court? I found it very easy to contact the CMS to arrange child maintenance when he disagree with a family based arrangement. Will applying through REMO be as straight forward as CMS? Thanks, Sue
Single mum - 5-May-16 @ 9:48 PM
Hi, i've been unable to work for the last 12 months due to illness claiming ESA. The reason for my illness is currently going through courts, if i am paid for loss of earnings, both retrospectively and future, where will i stand with the child support payments? Ive been ordered to pay £0 per month but have been managing £40 per month so far. Thanks.
42shades - 1-May-16 @ 11:10 AM
Samr8611 - Your Question:
I have an ongoing case with cm my ex partner has never paid for our 9 month baby, they have said they will put a deduction of earnings order on him, but as far as I'm aware he is self employed is anyone else in the same situation that could help or know if cm can do something with him being self employed?

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is always a tricky situation with paying parents who are self-employed as it is very easy to make it look as though a person is not earning a significant income when expenses are high, or if your ex has just started in self-employment very often it takes a long time to actually see profit against expenditure. It means there is little you or the CMS can do to extract money from a low income, despite your ex being registered with the HMRC.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Apr-16 @ 11:32 AM
I have an ongoing case with cm my ex partner has never paid for our 9 month baby, they have said they will put a deduction of earnings order on him, but as far as I'm aware he is self employed is anyone else in the same situation that could help or know if cm can do something with him being self employed?
Samr8611 - 26-Apr-16 @ 12:00 PM
Loophole: a father can use the CMS to override a court order for maintenance after 12 months, take voluntary redundancy (example 50K), inform the CMS the next day they have no income and and not bother getting a job for 2 years, stops paying child maintenance and discards there responsibilities whilst using the money to go on lavish holidays and living like a king! And the CMS helped him do it! Absolutely disgraceful!!!!
Keith - 22-Apr-16 @ 7:16 AM
I've been paying csa for the last 4 years, I've just medically retired with a cash lump sum, I was taxed 20 p on my final wage slip, what is my standingin regards to carrying on making payments ?
Wally - 21-Apr-16 @ 12:44 PM
My partner was on sick for one week and was told she still had to pay full amount as protected earnings is 495 month after she had 4 weeks sick pay 312 then csa said she as to pay 20 a week is this correct she as fallen below protected earnings and she was also having to pay maintenance for a child living with her due to dad wouldn't cancel child benefit so you claim child benefit you can claim maintenance what a joke csa wouldn't do anything I think there think she was lieing now she owes over two grand arrears for a child that lived with her in the end she said to her son go live with you're dad she couldn't afford to keep him she should have been getting child benefit and maintenance instead paying maintenance and getting no child benefit csa is a joke
Tod - 16-Apr-16 @ 10:13 PM
My ex is claiming JSA he has also received pension lump sums totalling just over £15k since Jan 2015, he has not been drawing a regular income from his pension however. Does this mean this money is disregarded?
Jofo78 - 9-Apr-16 @ 8:48 AM
HelenaA - Your Question:
Hi.Pardon my horrid English, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. I have this troubling situation. The case is that I have a friend who is unemployed and therefore unable to pay any support for his ex. However, I live abroad and would like him to visit me this summer. I would pay his flights and upkeep. He refuses my offer because he's afraid his ex - and the court - would think _he_ is the one having money to travel abroad and do things he shouldn't afford. Naturally no money would even visit any his account as it is possible to book and pay flights for other people.So, is there any way I could enjoy his company for a couple of weeks so that it wouldn't anyhow interfere with the existing CSA agreement/decision? Also, is he even allowed to travel abroad for any reason?Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
There is nothing to stop your friend coming to visit you. If he is not working then the court will not chase him for money as child maintenance is purely based upon earnings, therefore he does not have to justify his actions.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Apr-16 @ 12:48 PM
Hi. Pardon my horrid English, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. I have this troubling situation. The case is that I have a friend who is unemployed and therefore unable to pay any support for his ex. However, I live abroad and would like him to visit me this summer. I would pay his flights and upkeep. He refuses my offer because he's afraid his ex - and the court - would think _he_ is the one having money to travel abroad and do things he shouldn't afford. Naturally no money would even visit any his account as it is possible to book and pay flights for other people. So, is there any way I could enjoy his company for a couple of weeks so that it wouldn't anyhow interfere with the existing CSA agreement/decision? Also, is he even allowed to travel abroad for any reason? Thanks in advance.
HelenaA - 4-Apr-16 @ 4:08 PM
Hi I'm really hoping someone can help me my husband has paid Csa regularly for the past 4 years. Today he phoned to give them some figures from recent wageslips and they asked him for our tax credit details saying that they include it as income. I'm really confused as surely the tax credits I receive jointly with my husband is for our two children. I have no problem with him paying Csa out of his wages but now they want to take our children's money, even though she his ex claims tax credits herself. Please help I feel sick with worry as its not something we can afford.
Lml - 31-Mar-16 @ 3:28 PM
Reubansmomma - Your Question:
Hi. I was hoping for some help/adviceMy soon to be ex husband currently pays for our son, and does whatever amount the CMS say is correct But I happen to know that he could get a lot of money left to him via a will and possible sale of a house. The case is still open and I'll be keeping it open for a while so will CMS deem that as income and my son gets a percentage ? I am new to all of this so not really sure where to start! I know CMS will annually review his income My son needs some costly equipment which is why I ask.Many thanks

Our Response:
Inheritances aren't touched by the CMS, child maintenance is based on earnings alone.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Mar-16 @ 11:59 AM
Hi. I was hoping for some help/advice My soon to be ex husband currently pays for our son, and does whatever amount the CMS say is correct But I happen to know that he could get a lot of money left to him via a will and possible sale of a house. The case is still open and I'll be keeping it open for a while so will CMS deem that as income and my son gets a percentage ? I am new to all of this so not really sure where to start! I know CMS will annually review his income My son needs some costly equipment which is why I ask... Many thanks
Reubansmomma - 23-Mar-16 @ 2:36 PM
gerty123 - Your Question:
My ex husband as a army pension does the child maintenance take this into account as it's taxable income.

Our Response:
I suggest in this instance you contact the CMS directly via the link where you can chat online with an Options agent here.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Mar-16 @ 11:18 AM
My ex husband as a army pension does the child maintenance take this into account as it's taxable income.
gerty123 - 18-Mar-16 @ 11:30 AM
Hi, My ex husband is currently paying the maintenance for his daughter but he refuses to see her, his choice. Come May this year he is being made redundant and will be receiving well above the statory redundancy pay, he is getting roughly £90,000. When he ceases his employment, will he still be oblidged to pay me the maintenance or will it stop? Much appreciate any help.
kezza - 17-Mar-16 @ 1:59 PM
shating - Your Question:
A friend was a few months in arrears with csa payments as he was out of work, he had a job over Xmas for a period of one month, he never received any wage slips p45 or anything from the company nor did he receive the two weeks in hand he did, then in Jan after being out of work for another month he received an out of court settlement for a personal injury and within fortnight he has had he's account frozen and is still out of work. Can they do this?

Our Response:
I have included the leaflet: What action can the CSA take if parents don't pay? here which should tell you all you need to know.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Mar-16 @ 12:26 PM
A friend was a few months in arrears with csa payments as he was out of work, he had a job over Xmas for a period of one month, he never received any wage slips p45 or anything from the company nor did he receive the two weeks in hand he did, then in Jan after being out of work for another month he received an out of court settlement for a personal injury and within fortnight he has had he's account frozen and is still out of work. Can they do this?
shating - 14-Mar-16 @ 1:55 PM
Hi i have been paying CSA since 2012 . since then i have been travelling to london from bristol every fornight by car to see my daughters in a contact centre for a supervised contact 40 pounds a session because of the lies she told . in october 2014 i lost my main contractor . i payed for 6 months from my savings even though i didnt have a job so it look good in court to keep getting contact. for after 6 months i stop paying and started agency work it is not stable i explained this to them last year that its not stable it goes on bills. they ask me why dont i seek some kind of benefit i explained to them im not entitles because no public funds is my visa conditions . now they send me a letter saying i owe 2700. now they sending me a form of how much petrol i use to pay to go to london and all this nonsense . why didnt they send this in the beginning when i told them im struggling? so i want to know what to do becasue i dont have 2700 sitting on. feel like just leaving the country all together to be honest
stinga - 13-Mar-16 @ 2:08 PM
Hello I provided details to the CSA of my income and expenditure as requested, I live with my parents as my ex partner is in our home, I pay my parents £50.00 p.w. in cash on a Friday for housekeeping (not including food) but the CSA don't seem happy with this and seem to want to dispute it. How can my parents prove this, I don't have a bank account at present and I am paid cash by my employer each week. Thanks for any advice
BillyWhiz - 10-Mar-16 @ 12:54 PM
I am currently paying csa for my son. As well as my wages do my child tax credits, working tax credits and child benefit count as my weekly income. I also have 3 children at home.
xoxo - 1-Mar-16 @ 11:03 AM
Kelly- Your Question:
Hi I have a 5 year old and 11 month old. My ex has no contact with them due to being a violent waste of space. Iv gone through CSM and they have calculated his weekly income to be £18.50 so he only pays £7 a month! However he's an ex army Sargent, who got made redundant with a very large lump sum pay out, and an army pension. He also works both as a lorry driver and in high security, often in different countries. However, he tends to work for weeks / months at a time, then not for a while. He has a brand new car, flies regularly 1st class to Thailand, and an £8000 watch, so how can he get away with saying his income is so low? Thanks for reading

Our Response:
It's a tricky situation to overcome, especially if he is self-employed (which means he can get away with declaring less if he employs a good accountant). If you feel you have been treated unfairly, then you can complain here.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-16 @ 12:43 PM
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