Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?

A Wage Arrestment, also known as an Earnings Arrestment, is a type of Diligence in Scotland, which means a type of procedure that Sheriff Officers can use to recover any debts that you owe.

Wage Arrestment Tables

When a Sheriff Officer arrests your wages, they serve an Earnings Arrestment Schedule on your employer.  This instructs your employer to make deductions from your wages every day/week/month, depending on the frequency with which you are paid. 

Your employer cannot take any more from your earnings than what is shown in the tables below and must use the Wage Arrestment Tables to calculate how much you should be paying.

What Table applies, depends on the frequency with which you receive your wages.

In certain circumstances an Earnings Arrestment can be prevented and in other situations recalled.

Earnings Arrestment Schedule

Table A – Deductions from Weekly Earnings

Net EarningsDeductions(*)
Not exceeding £122.28Nil
Exceeding £122.28 but not exceeding £442.00£4 or 19% of earnings exceeding £122.28, whichever is the greater
Exceeding £442.00, but not exceeding £664.50£60.75 plus 23% of earnings exceeding £442.00
Exceeding £664.50£111.92 plus 50% of earnings exceeding £664.50
  (*) When applying a percentage the calculation should be done to two decimal places of a penny and the result rounded to the nearest whole penny, with an exact half penny being rounded down.

Table B – Deductions from Monthly Earnings

Net EarningsDeductions(*)
Not exceeding £529.90 Nil
Exceeding £529.90 but not exceeding £1,915.32£15.00 or 19% of earnings exceeding £529.90, whichever is the greater
Exceeding £1,915.32 but not exceeding £2,879.52£263.23 plus 23% of earnings exceeding £1,915.32
Exceeding £2,879.52£485.00 plus 50% of earnings exceeding £2,879.52
    (*) When applying a percentage the calculation should be done to two decimal places of a penny and the result rounded to the nearest whole penny, with an exact half penny being rounded down.

Table C – Deductions from Daily Earnings

Net EarningsDeductions(*)
Not exceeding £17.42Nil
Exceeding £17.42 but not exceeding £62.97£0.50 or 19% of earnings exceeding £17.42, whichever is the greater
Exceeding £62.97 but not exceeding £94.67£8.65 plus 23% of earnings exceeding £62.97
Exceeding £94.67£15.95 plus 50% of earnings exceeding £94.67
  (*) When applying a percentage the calculation should be done to two decimal places of a penny and the result rounded to the nearest whole penny, with an exact half penny being rounded down.

Readers Questions

  1. Claire

    Hi there,

    Can three different arrestments be taken from my wage at the one time?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Claire

      You can. It depends on what type they are how it works. There are multiple different types of arrestments you can have in Scotland.
      If it is three Earning Arrestments these become what is called a conjoined arrestment, which means the amount you pay doesn’t increase from if it was just one. The money just gets split between the three debts, pro rata. So if you added up all the debt and one was 50%, they would get 50% of the money arrested. If another was 20% they would get 20% of the money.
      You can have different arrestments running at the same time if they are different types. So for example a Direct Earnings Arrestment is for benefit overpayment debts. These can run in tandem with Earning Arrestments, but Earning Arrestments are priority arrestments, whereas DEA are non-priority arrestments, so if both are running at the same time you can ask the DWP to reduce the amount they are taking.
      My page of this explains it. See Here

  2. Donna

    My partner has been told his wages are being arrested but he never got prior warning as its for his old address. He had sheriff officers come past saying that will happen if he doesn’t keep the payments up but we have set up a DD to pay off which has been paid on time every month

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Donna

      This all sounds a bit strange, to be honest.

      They may have served him with a Charge for Payment at his old address, as they didn’t know he had moved, which they need to before they arrest his wages. This is usually okay, as they only need to make reasonable efforts to serve him.

      A Charge for Payment, however, only lasts two years, then they have to serve him another.

      What is strange is the Sheriff Officers came by to say they would arrest his wages if he didn’t continue to make the monthly payments, especially as you have said he has not missed any payments.

      Possibly, it was because they have just learned of his new address and realise the paperwork was sent to his previous address. Possibly they just want to make sure he understands.

      Ultimately, if they have served a Charge for Payment in the last two years, they could arrest his wages, although its unusual if he has a repayment plan in place and is sticking to it.

      There are formal repayment plans that your Partner can apply for, like the Debt Arrangement Scheme, that not only stop wage arrestments but lift them also where they are in place, but normally there is no point if its the only debt you have.

      The important thing is he should be registered for Council Tax where he now lives and he should have told the Council he has moved out his own home and you shouldn’t get into arrears with your bill for this year, so make sure that is being paid.

      He can apply for a Statutory Moratorium if he wants, as these protect you from wage arrestments, but only for six months and only as a temporary solution until you put into place a solution like the Debt Arrangement Scheme.

  3. Fern

    Hi,

    Do we know if the Protected Daily Rate of £17.42 will be amended for 21/22 Tax Year and will there be new thresholds / Deduction tables issued?

    Many thanks

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Fern

      These tables are routinely updated every three years. The current version was introduced in April 2019, so the next update is not due until April 2022.

  4. Chris

    Hi,

    Can my wages be arrested if I have been out my old address for over a year and the first contact I’ve had from Stirling park have been the wage arrest form that was sent to my work?

    The address on the form is still my old address so I had no charge of payment etc issued to me

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Chris

      They can arrest your wages. The Charge may have been served in other ways, such as on the Walls of the Court, if they didn’t know where you lived. You can dispute the Wage Arrestment if you think procedurally something is incorrect, but that involves going to Court and I don’t see the value in that if you are not denying the debt is owed and they have the correct person.

      Once they establish your current address, they will just serve another Charge, possibly at a cost to you an serve another Earning Arrestment. You can obviously, enquire with them when a Charge for Payment was served and to what address.

  5. Richard

    Hi

    Is a solicitor or lawyer representing a creditor able to increase the value of an order by the sheriff, including legal fees above the origional order.

    Also what happens when the debt is paid off but money is still coming out.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Richard

      When Court Orders are applied for, its normal for them to be for the amount owed plus legal expenses and also judicial interest at 8% per annum.

      If this is granted, which is routine, then the debt can be increased with the legal and Sheriff officers fees and interest being added on.

      If you wish a balance as to how much is still owed, I would contact the Sheriff Officers. They should be able to tell you.

  6. pvenkman

    Hi,
    Can a Scottish court arrest wages from someone living and working in England?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi

      No this should not happen, however, it may depend on where the account is based, if it was opened in a Scottish branch, and where you lived when the Court granted the order.

      But generally if you are living in England, the action should be raised in the County Courts and how the debt is recovered should be governed by English Law and enforced using Bailiffs.

      If you need advice on English Law visit the National Debtline (click on the link).

  7. jean

    HI

    Can wages arrestments be taken off redundancy pay. If it can, how much do they take?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Jean

      Normally, wage arrestments cannot be taken from redundancy payments, as redundancy payments as defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996, are not treated as earning under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987.
      However, that does not mean they cannot be arrested once they are paid into the person’s bank account. When that happens, only £529.90 is protected regardless of the source of the funds.
      I hope this helps. Please let me know how you get on and if you have time, it would be great if you could give us a Rating on Trust Pilot.

  8. Magnus

    Can an Arrestment order be made on both wages at the same time for the same council tax bill

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Magnus

      Yes unfortunately Earning arrestments can be served on different employers at the same time for the same debt.

      There are maybe better ways to deal with a debt where an Earning Arrestment has been executed. See my page on How to Stop a Wage Arrestment.

      You can also get free advice and assistance from your local advice agency on how to take these different steps.

  9. Anne

    I have an wages arrestment currently on month three. However it is more than I can reasonably afford due to other debts accrued since being unemployed last year. Can I ask for the amount to be reduced ?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Anne

      I have just picked up your question. I am sorry it was overlooked.

      You can ask the Earning arrestment is reduced, but there is no requirement for them to reduce it.

      There is however other formal methods getting an Earning Arrestment lifted. I have a page on this which explains all methods. How to Stop a Wage Arrestment.

      You can get more advice on this from your local advice agency (click on the highlighted text).

  10. Elaine

    I had my wages arrested but I know they are taking the wrong amount but no matter who I speak to no one can help

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Elaine

      Do you know who the Sheriff Officer are and who arrested your wages (what creditor?).

  11. Peter

    Hi Team,

    For the tables in A & B, can you advise if they are still applicable for 2020/21 tax year.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Sharon

      Technically you can, as each Council Tax year’s arrears count as a separate debt that an Earning Arrestment can be carried out for.

      It would actually be called a Conjoined Earning Arrestment.

      The amount taken each month would not increase, however, but would just be divided on a pro-rata basis between both debts.

      For this reason what most Councils tend to do is do it for one year, and when that debt is paid do it for the next year. They normally collect the earlier years first.

  12. John

    Must a creditor inform you that they are going to arrest your wages.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi John

      Creditors must serve a Charge for Payment before arresting your wages. Nothing else.
      Employers also cannot refuse to carry out the arrestment or they can be help liable for your debt, to the extent they should have taken it from your Earnings.

      It may be of interest, but I have a page on stopping Earning Arrestments that may be useful for you.

  13. Trudi

    Hi

    I have wage arresstment. I think it’s for council tax, as that’s the only thing I can think it is.

    We struggle to survive with the little I get in wages and now it’s making it impossible to save or live with this treatment.

    What can I do?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Trudi

      It is very possibly for Council Tax, as Local Authorities do more earning arrestments than anyone else for Council Tax.

      There is a number of things you can do to deal with a wage arrestment, but as to what is the correct course of action, that will depend on your personal circumstances.

      If you look at my page on How to Stop a Wage Arrestment it will give you, your options.

      I would also suggest you seek advice from your Local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service.

  14. Rachel

    Hi

    If your debt is for Council Tax and you already have a DEA in place, surely they cannot take 19% plus the original amount?

    My employer has just told me that is how he understood it?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Rachel

      Unfortunately, your employer is correct. One does not exclude the other.

      However, a Direct Earning Attachment Order is a Non-priority Order, unlike an Earnings Arrestment which is a Priority Order.

      This mean, regardless of when the Earning Arrestment is applied, the Direct Earning Attachment must give way to the Earnings Arrestment.

      If the Earning Arrestment leaves you with less than 60% of your net earnings the Direct Earning Attachment should not be applied. However, if the Earning Arrestment leaves you with more than 60% of you net earnings the DEA can still be applied. If applying the full DEA would take you below the protected 60% that the law says you must be left with, the DEA can be applied partially, providing it doesn’t take you below the 60% safety net.

      The Direct Earning Attachment (DEA) will be for an overpayment of benefits. Do you know what type of benefit it was? If it was Housing Benefit, then the DEA will have been applied for by your local authority. If it was for another benefit, it will have been the Department of Work and Pensions that applied it.

      If your employer requires further advice he should contact whoever applied for it and bring to their attention that you now also have an Earnings Arrestment and they should give him guidance, as above (for DWP Debt Management see here)

      There is also more scope to modify a DEA, so sometimes those applying it can adjust the amount or lift it altogether and come to an arrangement with you instead, even if it can still be applied in addition to the Earnings Arrestment, if it is causing you hardship. If this is the case, you should contact them yourself, this isn’t your employers responsibility.

      Earning Arrestments are less flexible and harder to get the Council to lift.

      If neither will show you any flexibility, contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and ask if they can help.

      A Debit Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme can lift an Earnings Arrestment.

      You need to also make sure you pay your current Council Tax, otherwise you will just Keep being in arrears and keep getting Earning Arrestments, with all the fees involved.

      The Debt Arrangement Scheme may be able to help you manage all this

  15. Alison

    Hi

    If an arrestment order was made in 2018, should the deduction rates at the time be used this year, or the rates that came out in April?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi

      Alison it should be the 2019 Schedule.

      If an earning arrestment was already in place it should have changed for the next deduction after the new Schedule was introduced, which as far as I can recall was the 6th April 2019.

      So any deduction after that date should have been done using the new Schedule.

  16. Vishnu

    Hi

    If an employer received an earnings arrestment order and a trustee’s order from two different courts can they action both?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Vishnu

      I am assuming you have either been made Bankrupt or granted a Protected Trust Deed, then run up further debt and an Earnings Arrestment has been executed for that other debt.

      Your employer must follow both instructions as he is legally required to do so.

      You need to go back to your Trustee and explain what has happened and ask he review how much you are paying to your Bankruptcy or Protected Trust Deed.

      If he refuses to do so, you need to seek independent advice from a money adviser from a Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and ask if the can help. They can possibly ask the Trustee carries out a review of what you are paying. If the Trustee still refuses to do so they can apply to the Accountant in Bankruptcy to give the Trustee a Direction to do so.

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