Home > Earnings & Deductions > What Counts as Earnings?

What Counts as Earnings?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 Jan 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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[Add a Comment]
Hi, I am going through a tribunal appeal against my ex (NRP). He has investments and capital in excess of £64,000 which he has not disclosed to CSA. He increased his pension contribution to 17% shortly after our separation. His pension pot is in excess of 150k. He is collecting Childcare vouchers from his employer and is not contributing towards my child's childcare costs. He does not have any other children. He has been doing this over the period of 2 years. How will the judge assess the variation in Pension increase, capital disclosure and childcare? Does anyone have experience of something similar? Thank you
Zara - 28-Jan-16 @ 12:15 PM
I'm currently trying to sort out maintenance with my ex. I'm unsure if he will be honest to inform me of pay increases and bonuses he gets. I said I would therefore do it through csa direct. He stated that if I do this it would not include his bonus anyway as that is a not guaranteed income. Can you advise if bonuses are included and my best way forward and with pay increases. Many thanks
Jenny - 23-Jan-16 @ 3:23 PM
Do taxable benefits count as gross income? Specifically a company car. Thanks
seekingguidence - 11-Jan-16 @ 10:10 PM
I was ordered by the court to pay child support for my son. I see him every other weekend, holidays, and 30 days in the summer. I want to know if I could file him on my taxes? I was told by someone that I could file him for six months, but I still feel misguided.ms
Tip - 7-Jan-16 @ 10:07 PM
CBC - Your Question:
My ex-husband got sacked from his teaching job last year. Since then he has been running his own company, which he started 5 years ago. Throughout those 5 years he was having to financially support the company. He has now told me that he can no longer pay Child maintenance for his 3 children as he no longer has an income. When I've asked him how he is financially supporting himself, he's told me the company is paying him back his directors loan, but this can't be classed as an income for child maintenance purposes. Is this right?

Our Response:
When a non-resident parent is self-employed it is often very difficult to obtain the levels of child support required. A good accountant will usually be able to sideline income, or your ex may be genuinely in financial straits which means he is not in receipt of an income. I can only suggest speaking to Child Maintenance Services directly regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jan-16 @ 2:39 PM
My ex-husband got sacked from his teaching job last year.Since then he has been running his own company, which he started 5 years ago. Throughout those 5 years he was having to financially support the company.He has now told me that he can no longer pay Child maintenance for his 3 children as he no longer has an income.When I've asked him how he is financially supporting himself, he's told me the company is paying him back his directors loan, but this can't be classed as an income for child maintenance purposes.Is this right?
CBC - 4-Jan-16 @ 1:17 PM
Hi, my ex took a voluntary redundancy (enhanced) receiving 14k for just 3 years service. He has not paid me CSA this month saying he hasn't got a job. I have huge mortgage he left me with and nursery fees etc, is he really not entitled to pay CSA from his voluntary redundancy? If that's the case it's so disappointing as he already got away not having to pay for two months whilst CSA took so long to find him as he moved out not telling anyone where. I'm livid, seems like fathers get away with too much, they have no idea how much it costs to bring a child up.
Carla74 - 2-Jan-16 @ 8:41 AM
Can the csa base thier deductions on expenses give to me by my employer for lodging away, rent in a work house, food, laundry and other day to items.
Gaf - 20-Dec-15 @ 6:51 PM
James - Your Question:
I have a non CSA agreement with my ex wife concerning maintenance payments for one of my sons. I have, and will continue to pay the appropriate sum based on my income until Sept 2017. I am due to take early retirement in Feb 2016 - Am I expected to continue to pay contributions at my current rate or at my monthly pension income?

Our Response:
You would need to review it between you. However, payments are based upon your amount of your income. If you are unsure what you should be paying, then you can use the CMS calculator as guidance, please see link: here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Dec-15 @ 12:16 PM
I have a non CSA agreement with my ex wife concerning maintenance payments for one of my sons. I have, and will continue to pay the appropriate sum based on my income until Sept 2017. I am due to take early retirement in Feb 2016 - Am I expected to continue to pay contributions at my current rate or at my monthly pension income?
James - 17-Dec-15 @ 5:31 PM
Pops - Your Question:
My ex is due to leave the navy next month, completing his 22 years. He tells me the CSA have done a reassessment and he will only have to pay £24 per week. (I have 1 child with a court order that he cannot see her). Will he be due pension/lump sum when he leaves and will I be entitled to claim anything more? It's a huge drop in maintenance for my child.

Our Response:
It's unlikely you would be able to claim from his lump sum, unless the lump sum was classified as earnings. You would have to speak to the CSA regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Dec-15 @ 2:10 PM
My ex is due to leave the navy next month, completing his 22 years. He tells me the CSA have done a reassessment and he will only have to pay £24 per week. (I have 1 child with a court order that he cannot see her). Will he be due pension/lump sum when he leaves and will I be entitled to claim anything more?It's a huge drop in maintenance for my child.
Pops - 15-Dec-15 @ 8:24 PM
tribrad- Your Question:
Hi.I will be retiring in a couple of years and will receive a full Police pension. Will the pension be classed as an income by the CSA?

Our Response:
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. You would have to speak to the CSA directly for a more definitive answer.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Dec-15 @ 2:45 PM
Hi. I will be retiring in a couple of years and will receive a full Police pension. Will the pension be classed as an income by the CSA?
tribrad - 10-Dec-15 @ 12:06 PM
LBS - Your Question:
Hello,I have only started paying child maintenance through the CSA (CMS) but have been paying less for the last 4 years. The child is 8. Can the CSA (CMS) enforce retroactive payment for the whole life of the child, or only since the request from the mother to have an assesement?Thanks and regards

Our Response:
The latter. You cannot have a retrospective claim made against you, it has to be from when the resident-parent originally launched the claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Dec-15 @ 10:26 AM
Hello, I have only started paying child maintenance through the CSA (CMS) but have been paying less for the last 4 years. The child is 8. Can the CSA (CMS) enforce retroactive payment for the whole life of the child, or only since the request from the mother to have an assesement? Thanks and regards
LBS - 3-Dec-15 @ 4:40 PM
Paul3580 - Your Question:
Hi, I need some advise regarding the figure that the CMA have received from the HMRC, can the CMA take the figure they have received from them if it includes an statutory redundancy payment.The figure they have is way above my normal gross salary amount and it will potentially put me into arrears with my joint mortgage and debt plan that I currently have with my ex.I hope you can help.Thanks

Our Response:
As specified in the article, money that an individual receives that is not classed as ‘earnings’ include: statutory payments made by an employer for reasons of maternity, paternity or redundancy. I suggest in the first instance you contact the CMS directly, if you are still not satisfied, you can complain via the link here. The office managing your case will contact the Complaints Resolution Team and they’ll try to sort out your complaint within 15 working days. I hope this help.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Dec-15 @ 10:15 AM
Hi, I need some advise regarding the figure that the CMA have received from the HMRC, can the CMA take the figure they have received from them if it includes an statutory redundancy payment. The figure they have is way above my normal gross salary amount and it will potentially put me into arrears with my joint mortgage and debt plan that I currently have with my ex. I hope you can help. Thanks
Paul3580 - 2-Dec-15 @ 2:19 PM
Plod999 - Your Question:
I receive an ill health pension with an additional injury award following an injury at work. I also get Industrial Injuries Disablement Pension and DLA as a result of the injury which forced me to retire on ill health grounds ( I was a police officer). I was recently made redundant from another job and the pension and these benefits are currently my new family's sole income (which will not cover living costs once the redundancy payment is gone) but the CSA have applied a variation or I would otherwise pay a flat rate. Should my pension and benefits be exempt? I couldn't advise as it is dependent upon certain factors. You would have to appeal via the CSA if you think you have been treated unfairly, and that you shouldn't be paying, please see link here.

Our Response:
I couldn't advise as it is dependent upon certain factors. You would have to appeal via the CSA if you think you have been treated unfairly, and that you shouldn't be paying, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Dec-15 @ 2:26 PM
I receive an ill health pension with an additional injury award following an injury at work. I also get Industrial Injuries Disablement Pension and DLA as a result of the injury which forced me to retire on ill health grounds ( I was a police officer). I was recently made redundant from another job and the pension and these benefits are currently my new family's sole income (which will not cover living costs once the redundancy payment is gone) but the CSA have applied a variation or I would otherwise pay a flat rate. Should my pension and benefits be exempt?
Plod999 - 30-Nov-15 @ 6:06 PM
boson - Your Question:
Im currently paying for two children and have been for the last five years, I have always been employed, I'm going to become self employedHow are my CSA payments calculated??

Our Response:
I suggest you give the CMS a call via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 30-Nov-15 @ 11:16 AM
Im currently paying for two children and have been for the last five years, I have always been employed, I'm going to become self employed How are my CSA payments calculated??
boson - 29-Nov-15 @ 12:00 PM
Confused- Your Question:
Can the Csa take my wife's earnings into account when having to pay for a child from a previous relashinship

Our Response:
Yes, the CSA/CMS will take child maintenance payments to other children. You can see how much you should be paying via the CMS Options calculator here.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Nov-15 @ 1:40 PM
Can the Csa take my wife's earnings into account when having to pay for a child from a previous relashinship
Confused - 17-Nov-15 @ 10:04 PM
Regarding Deduction from Earnings Orders (DEO).I have just had an appeal dismissed by magistrates court against a DEO placed against my NHS ill health retirement pension.In court the barrister for the CSA accepted that the CSA accept that my NHS Pension is in payment due to Disability and Legislation says that it should not be classed as earnings.The appeal was dismissed under case law from the early 1990's.What route to appeal this decision can I take?
Miffed - 6-Nov-15 @ 10:45 PM
I have just been offered voluntary redundancy and will receive 13k This is classed as tax free except 2 months wages in lieu. Will the CSA only take payments from my 2 months wages as set in my schedule or can they take from my tax free redundancy settlement?
Help needed - 6-Nov-15 @ 8:17 AM
My husband has a child from a previous relationship. He is currently on zero contract employment and his wage varies weekly. CSA have made errors with calculations and now they are asking for my income. Last year my husband earned under £5k but my net wage was over £15k. I pay most household bills but can they take my income into account? Thanks.
Fearless - 30-Oct-15 @ 9:09 PM
Thank you for your response. My travel expenses are train fares to go to work so that I can afford to pay the maintenance.
Dhiva - 29-Oct-15 @ 3:39 PM
i had a clean break settlement with my ex who has custody of our 3 children. the judge awarded her 2/3rds of my pension which is the majority of it. i hadnt payed into my pension for 10 years at the time of the award and the bulk of the money came from a superannuation pension i had before i even met her. can i go back to court to appeal
wanderersfan - 23-Oct-15 @ 2:35 PM
Dhiva - Your Question:
I have recently moved out of matrimonial house after discovering that my wife has been sleeping around. I am paying her maintenance for 2 kids. My Maintenance is calculated based on my gross pay instead of net pay. I also pay £5k yearly train ticket. This doesn't seem fair as I can't afford to do anything now. Can someone advise if this calculation is correct or not- I would assume that they have to calculate after net pay or at least deduct my travel expenses.She is also insisting on me ceding all rights to the property and walk away without any property share. I am planning on getting 50% custody of my kids to reduce maintenance payments- Is this possible.Your help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Our Response:
With regards to your expenses, if you have to travel to see your children, you may be able to claim a 'special expenses variation' please see CAB link here. The CMS calculates its child support payments on gross pay, you can see how much you should be paying via the CMS linkhere. Also please see Child Custody Rights link here which will give you more information.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Oct-15 @ 10:01 AM
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