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How an IVA affects me

Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) and my job

If you’re considering an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), you might be worried about how it will affect your job. Here at StepChange we manage IVAs for many of our clients, and the good news is that having an IVA won’t affect most jobs, but there are important exceptions.

IVAs are arranged by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, part of StepChange Debt Charity.

You should make sure you’re clear about whether your job could be affected before you go ahead with an IVA. Before applying for any debt solution, you should get free and impartial debt advice, so you can find out which options are best suited to your circumstances.

They aren't available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a protected trust deed is a similar solution, but has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

There are no up-front fees, and we won’t charge you for debt advice. Once your IVA is set up, there will be fees set by your creditors, which you’ll pay in your monthly repayments.

An individual voluntary arrangement is a legally binding debt solution, that can help you write off debts, but can have serious consequences. It's important that you're fully informed before making a decision.

mum at the table with bills

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Clare Lindley and James O'Carroll of StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are licensed to act as insolvency practitioners in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.

Will an IVA affect my job?

There are some jobs you can’t keep when you have an IVA, often because you’re in control of other people’s money. Having an IVA will not affect most jobs. However, roles in the following industries could be impacted by an IVA:

  • Legal
  • Financial services
  • Property conveyancing
  • Accountancy

If you’re working in these professions, having an IVA may mean you can no longer practice, or can only continue in your role subject to certain conditions.

Not all jobs in these sectors will prevent you from entering into an IVA. Before you apply for an IVA, you should find out if there are any risks to your role.

You can check if your role may be affected by an IVA by:

  • Checking the terms and conditions of your employment contract
  • Speaking confidentially to your HR department
  • Speaking to your trade union or professional body

Find out more about how an IVA could affect you.

What should I do if my job could be affected by an IVA?

If you think your current job may be affected by having an IVA, or you’re planning to apply for a job that may be affected, this may not be the right option for you.

All IVAs are managed by an IVA supervisor who will be able to advise you about this.

There are a number of other debt solutions you can consider that could help you get your financial situation back on track.

For example:

  • With a debt management plan (DMP) you make affordable monthly payments that are shared amongst your creditors. This may be recommended to you if you’re able to pay off your debts in a reasonable amount of time, usually less than 10 years
  • If you have equity in your home, you may be able to use this to repay your debts by remortgaging.

Will my employer find out about my individual voluntary arrangement?

The only ways an employer can find out about your IVA are by:

  • Making financial checks, which must be approved by you in advance, or
  • Searching the public Insolvency Register, which is rare

If your employer asks to make a credit check on you, your employment contract should cover the rules for them doing this.

It may also be your employer’s policy that you have to declare an IVA if you get one. In this case, you should declare it before they run their credit check.

It’s rare that an employer will check the Insolvency Register, but this does happen sometimes. Your details will be shown on the register for the duration of your IVA and for three months after it ends. You should bear this in mind before you take out an IVA.

mum at the table with bills

Ready to find out if an IVA is right for you?

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Does having an IVA affect getting a job?

This depends on the job you’re applying for. Most employers don’t run the types of credit checks on their candidates that would show an IVA, but some might do. Credit checks are more likely to be the case if you’re applying for a role where you could access other people’s money.

By law, prospective employers should always ask you in advance if they’re going to run a credit check.

What happens if I lose my job during an IVA?

If you lose your job during your individual voluntary arrangement, you might be worried that your IVA will be affected, because of the change in your financial situation. If this happens, you should tell your IVA supervisor as soon as possible, and they’ll go through the options with you.

If you do lose your job, this will not automatically cause your IVA to fail.

IVAs are usually quite flexible. Depending on the terms of your arrangement, if losing your job has left you struggling to keep up with payments, it might be possible to:

  • Request a payment break of up to nine months
  • Ask your creditors to let you suspend your monthly IVA payments until your financial situation improves

Can I get an individual voluntary arrangement with StepChange?

We can set up and manage your IVA for you through our award-winning subsidiary, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, if this is a solution we recommend to you.

An IVA is a legally binding debt solution that can have serious consequences, so it’s important you’re fully informed before you go ahead.

Find out if an IVA is right for you

If you’re concerned about your financial situation, use our online debt advice tool or call us and speak to one of our expert debt advisors.

StepChange Voluntary Arrangements is a registered trading name of Consumer Credit Counselling Service Voluntary Arrangements Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of StepChange Debt Charity.

"Don't delay and don't worry! StepChange really help and make a huge difference" Anonymous, Angus