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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 pay 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 paid. 

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

How does an earnings arrestment work?

An earnings arrestment is a form of diligence. For this to be enforced you will have already received a decision or a decree and a ‘charge to pay’ or a ‘charge for payment’ which you have been unable to pay.

What is a ‘Charge to Pay’ or ‘Charge for Payment’?

A ‘charge to pay’ and a ‘charge for payment’ gives you 14 days to pay the debt in full. Some creditors may be willing to negotiate an informal payment arrangement with you. If you have received one of these get debt advice as soon as possible.

A charge to pay and a charge for payment are the final notice to you to pay and if payment is not received by the date stated on the form the creditor will start diligence. You should have received a ‘Debt Advice and Information package’ with the charge to pay or charge for payment which gives you information on your rights and where and how to get advice.

Free multilingual debt guide

We've put together a free, downloadable guide to help you deal with your money worries

Our guide to dealing with debt in Scotland covers debt collection processes, where to get help, budgeting and what to expect from a debt advice session. It’s available to download in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish. Find out more.

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. There is a minimum amount of earnings exempted before a percentage is deducted and sent to the creditor. As 6 April 2019, this minimum amount is:

  • £529.90 per month
  • £122.28 per week
  • £489.12 per 4 weeks
  • £17.42 per day

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
£17.42 or below No amount taken
£17.42 to £62.97 50p or 19% of earnings over £17.42, whichever is higher
£62.97 to £94.67 £8.65 plus 23% of earnings over £62.97
£94.67 and above £15.95 plus 50% of earnings over £94.67


Weekly earnings Amount taken
£122.28 or below No amount taken
£122.28 to £442.00 £4 or 19% of earnings over £122.28, whichever is higher
£442.00 to £664.50 £60.75 plus 23% of earnings over £442.00
£664.50 and above £111.92  plus 50% of earnings over £664.50


Monthly earnings Amount taken
£529.90 or below No amount taken
£529.90 to £1,915.32 £15 or 19% of earnings over £529.90, whichever is higher
£1,915.32 to £2,879.52 £263.23 plus 23% of earnings over £1,915.32
£2,879.52 or above £485.00 plus 50% of earnings over £2,879.52

Table source: The Diligence against Earnings Regulations 2018

Earnings arrestment help and advice

If you’re worried about debts, have received a decision or 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.