Sharon McDougall - Updated - 1st February 2024 - 2 minutes to read
Wage arrestment, also known as an earnings arrestment or attachment of earnings, is a legal process that allows a creditor to take money directly from a person’s wages to pay off a debt. However, wage arrestment can only be used against people in specific circumstances. Individuals can challenge or stop a wage arrestment if an enforcement action against them has not been carried out in the correct legal manner.
If you are behind on debt repayments, a creditor may seek a court order to initiate wage arrestment. This is known as an ‘Earnings Arrestment Order (EAO)’ which can be legally submitted to an employer instructing them to automatically deduct a specified percentage of a salary payment and to direct these funds to a sheriff clerk, who in turn can redirect this money to the creditor.
The amount that can be taken depends on how much the debtor earns and their individual circumstances, meaning that there are specified limits to the amounts that can be taken. This page on the Citizens Advice website clearly sets out the how much can be taken from daily, weekly or monthly earnings depending on the net earnings of the debtor that the wage arrestment is sought against.
It's important to note that wage arrestment is a last resort for creditors and should only be used if all other attempts to recover the debt have failed. However, if you've been served with a court order for wage arrestment, it's important to react quickly.
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Which options do I have when facing creditor action?
There are options available to help you manage your debt and avoid, challenge or ultimately stop a wage arrestment. These include negotiating a repayment plan with your creditor, seeking debt advice from a professional debt advisor, or entering into a debt solution such as a debt arrangement scheme or a trust deed.
You can also find out whether you have exemption status. The self-employed, persons receiving specific state benefits and serving members of the armed forces will be exempt from wage arrestment.
You can also check and possibly challenge the amount being deducted from your salary through wage arrestment, as it is linked to the overall amount you earn. An amount of up to £566.51 of a monthly salary should not be touched and should always come to you before wage arrestment deductions. Amounts higher than that can be subject to arrestment on a sliding scale.
You may also be able to seek a Suspended Attachment of Earnings Order. In this case if you are able to demonstrate that you could be subject to disciplinary action at work or that you may have your employment contract terminated if the EAO stays in place, you may be able to suspend the order.
Another option is to put a formal debt solution in place. If your wages have been arrested, an advisable course of action could might be to enter into a formal debt solution such as a Trust Deed or Sequestration.
If your wages have been arrested, take action as soon as possible. Legally you must be provided with a warning before your wages are arrested, so this should give you the chance to make an alternative repayment agreement with the creditor. Formal debt solutions such as Trust Deeds or a Debt Arrangement Scheme should only be entered into under the supervision of a licensed debt professional.
Here at Scotland Debt Solution's our team of debt specialists can provide advice when it comes to preventing or challenging Earnings Arrestment Orders. Call us today on 0800 063 9250 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to get your debt problems under control.
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