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What Counts as Earnings?

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 12 July 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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Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
[Add a Comment]
@Dozey - as suggested in the article, 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. Therefore savings are not considered to be part of your earnings.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jul-15 @ 2:40 PM
@Red66 -The CMS/CSA will calculate your payments based on his earnings, so if he is not earning over particular periods of the year, I'm afraid they will take this into account when assessing his child support.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jul-15 @ 9:56 AM
Can any or my savings that I have be counted in for child support?
Dozey - 12-Jul-15 @ 8:51 AM
My husband works, I don't I had to give up work due to ill health and to care for my grown up daughter who has mental health problem, I get 73.10 a week so this mine and what my husband earns some months doesn't even cover the bill, can they do this to us even if it forces us to lose our home.
Red66 - 11-Jul-15 @ 1:20 AM
@Dp - As specified in the article, 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. However, you may have to let the CSA know about money that is due to your loss of earnings, especially if it affected CSA payments to your ex.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jun-15 @ 2:07 PM
Im getting alarge some of money,of loss of earning from my previous job,can the csa touch it? At the end of the day its a one of lump sum,which wont be taxed.
Dp - 12-Jun-15 @ 6:45 PM
@Foxy - With regards to CSA income is classed as; earnings from employment, taxable profits from self-employment, money from an occupational or personal pension and also in some instances, tax credits. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-May-15 @ 2:35 PM
Morning. I will be retiring at the age of 55 in 3 years time. I will have a pension of & £10,000 per year. Can the Csa take part of this pension to pay for my child's maintenance. Many thanks
Foxy - 14-May-15 @ 9:07 AM
@Query -It might be that your ex would have to agree to a family-based arrangement as it is more flexible and easier to change, especially if you suddenly find yourself out of work. See CMS link here. Should you need any further advice, you should call the CMS directly as it can give you the official line. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-May-15 @ 12:21 PM
Hi, could someone respond to my question of 17th April about temporary work please?
Query - 7-May-15 @ 5:51 PM
@pauly - you have come through on a site regarding child support laws, so we can't really answer this question. I can only suggest you contact the Pensions Advisory Service via the link here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-May-15 @ 2:15 PM
@Atwitsend - I am very sorry to hear this and if you think you have been treated unfairly by the CSA, you should make a complaint via the link here. You will need to see what the resolution is and if the resolution still says it is the responsibility of your employer, then it might have to be that you would have to take your employer to the small claims court. At least it would then be decided by the courts 'who' should have to repay you the overpayment, as it is no fault of your own. I hope they have managed to rectify the payments now, which will allow you to take better care of your child. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-May-15 @ 12:09 PM
My employer has made a mistake when calculating the amount of my wages which should be sent through a DEO to the CSA. They have left me with less than 60% which they are required to do, this has left me with no money to feed my 13 year old son who lives with me. The CSA have told me it is up to my employer to refund the overpayment who can then claim it back from the CSA. My employer refuses to admit they have made a mistake, even though the CSA has informed them. I am stuck in the middle of all this with a child I can not afford to feed. I really am at my wits end, if the CSA were a debt collection agency there actions would be illegal.
Atwitsend - 5-May-15 @ 9:09 PM
I have taken an occupational pension at the age of 54 on the grounds of disability. Because of this my ESA and Housing benefit has been drastically reduced. Therefore I am no better off. Under the new Pension changes,if I completely take all of my pension pot as a lump sum,what effect will this have on my benefits ?
pauly - 5-May-15 @ 4:09 PM
Could I ask what the situation is with temporary work and child maintenance? I'm currently unemployed and so pay no CM. If I work for a couple of weeks how would the CMO asses CM? If they assessed it as a regular income then I would end up paying too much over time, possibly more than I earned. The calculation should be the amount of CM payable for those two weeks only, but I suspect they wouldn't do it that way. Could anyone please explain?
Query - 17-Apr-15 @ 10:52 AM
@tinsmith - You would need to seek advice on this by going direct to the CSA or CMS, if your child maintenance is taken via there, or perhaps the Citizens Advice Bureau or Pensions Advisory Service. However, in more general terms pension lump sums and pensions can affect means testeds benefits. Lump sums are normally classed as savings, and pension as income. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Apr-15 @ 10:52 AM
If I were to take s ok me money out if a pension pot, would this be classed as earnings that cm would be payable against? So confusing!
tinsmith - 3-Apr-15 @ 9:08 AM
@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
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