Diligence against earnings – Information for Scots in debt

February 10, 2017

Diligence against earnings is a collective term for the ways creditors can deduct money directly from your salary in order to enforce the payment of a debt. The three methods are: earnings arrestment, current maintenance arrestment and conjoined arrestment orders.

Earnings Arrestment (EA) – This is the most common type of arrestment order in Scotland. Earnings arrestment is used to make a deduction from your earnings for enforcement of a single debt. The deduction to be made from your employment earnings is calculated according to a set of tables that recover a percentage of the debt according to the level of earnings in the pay period. Earnings arrestment is a serious step for a lender to take and will only be considered once all other avenues to obtain repayment have been exhausted. An earnings arrestment order will not come out of the blue; rather this will be the final step in a long process which involves the lender being granted a court order. Before this can happen, a Charge for Payment (this is a final notice to pay which gives you 14 days to settle the outstanding debt in full), must have been issued and subsequently expired.

The only exception to this is where the debt is being pursued by a Fines Enforcement Officer for an unpaid court fine; in this instance no Charge for Payment is required and your earnings can be arrested automatically.

The amount that can be taken from your wages hinges on how much (and how often) you’re paid. There is a minimum amount you will be allowed to earn before a percentage can be taken, which currently stands at £494.01 per month or £113.68 per week. The deductions from your pay packet will continue until the debt is paid in full.

Current Maintenance Arrestment (CMA) – A current maintenance arrestment is used to enforce a continuing maintenance obligation, such as a court awarded divorce settlement or child maintenance payment. A CMA will only be used if the debtor has failed to keep up with their obligations and has fallen behind on the payments they are required to make. As with an earnings arrestment, the order is served on the debtor’s employer and deductions are made directly from earnings.

Conjoined Arrestment Orders (CAO) – A conjoined arrestment order may be made if an individual has two, or more, of the same type of arrestments (either EA or CMA) running at the same time. A CAO combines these payments into one. If an individual has one EA and one CMA, then these will continue as separate payments. With a CAO, the amount taken from your salary is passed to the court where it is then divided between the creditors on a proportional basis.

If you are struggling with debt, Scotland Debt Solutions can help. We will quickly assess your situation, and advise on all the options available to you. Our experienced team work from five offices around Scotland, and are available for same-day consultations.

John Baird

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 0800 063 9250

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