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i The advice on this page applies to residents of Scotland only.

Earnings arrestment. What is it and what are my rights?

An earnings arrestment is a type of diligence that orders an employer to make regular deductions from your earnings to repay a debt. Earnings can be deducted monthly, weekly or daily from your net income.

An earnings arrestment is the most common type of diligence in Scotland and will remain in place until a debt has been repaid. 

If you’re unsure what diligence is, or if you’ve got a decree, read our advice on Scottish court action.

How does an earnings arrestment work?

For an earnings arrestment to be enforced the creditor will need to have already served a decree and a ‘charge for payment’.

A charge for payment is usually sent if you miss payments or default on your decree. This gives you 14 days to either pay the debt in full, or try to negotiate an informal payment arrangement with the creditor. You can normally only arrange this if you didn’t return your time to pay direction.

The exception to this is unpaid court fines where no charge for payment needs to be issued.

If you aren’t able to make arrangements or pay in full, the creditor can then issue the earnings arrestment if this is the creditors preferred method of diligence.

You should also receive a ‘Debt Advice and Information’ package around 12 weeks before an earnings arrestment is issued. This gives you information on your rights and where and how to get advice.

A sheriff officer then serves an arrestment schedule to your employer. The schedule contains details about the creditor, decree and any other information about the diligence.

How much can be deducted from my wage?

The amount that can be taken from your wages to pay towards the debt depends on how much and how often you’re paid. Any deductions are made from your net (after tax) income.

In some situations an earnings arrestment could cause a risk to your employment. Your employer can also write to the sheriff officer to explain the situation and the earnings arrestment can be reviewed.

The table below shows what amounts can be taken from your wage in daily, weekly and monthly amounts.

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Daily earnings Amount taken
£16.24 or below No amount taken
£16.24 to £58.70 50p or 19% of earnings over £16.24, whichever is higher
£58.70 to £88.26 £8.07 plus 23% of earnings over £58.70
£88.26 and above £14.87 plus 50% of earnings over £88.26

 

Weekly earnings Amount taken
£113.68 or below No amount taken
£113.68 to £410.90 £4 or 19% of earnings over £113.68, whichever is higher
£410.90 to £617.82 £56.74 plus 23% of earnings over £410.90
£617.82 and above £104.06 plus 50% of earnings over £617.82

 

Monthly earnings Amount taken
£494.01 or below No amount taken
£494.01 to £1,785.61 £15 or 19% of earnings over £494.01, whichever is higher
£1785.61 to £2684.51 £245.40 plus 23% of earnings over £1,785.61
£2,684.51 or above £452.15 plus 50% of earnings over £2,684.51

Table source: The Diligence against Earnings Regulations 2015

Earnings arrestment help and advice

If you’re worried about debts, have received a decree, or had court action taken against you we’d recommend getting expert advice from us.

Our Glasgow-based team specialise in giving advice to people living in Scotland. They can talk about your situation and help you find a solution to resolve your debt problem.