Getting an order

You and your employee will each get an ‘attachment of earnings order’ (AEO) from the court.

You must start making deductions from your employee’s pay from the next time you pay them, unless it’s within the next 7 days.

Write to the court within 10 days if you get an order for someone you do not employ.

What the order tells you

The court order will tell you:

  • how much your employee owes
  • if it’s a ‘priority order’ - if it does not say what it is, it’s a ‘non-priority order’
  • how much you have to take from their wages - called the ‘normal deduction rate’ (NDR)
  • the minimum amount they still have to take home - called the ‘protected earnings rate’ (PER)
  • how often the payments have to be made (weekly or monthly)

You can be fined if you do not start making the deductions.

Change how often the deductions are made

If a county court made the order, you can ask them to change it, for example from weekly to monthly if that’s how you pay your employee.

If a magistrate’s court made the order, your employee has to ask the court to change it.

Deductions and minimum take-home pay

You cannot make the normal deduction if it would take the employee below the protected earnings rate.

Protected earnings rate is too high

If the protected earnings rate is so high that you’ll never be able to make deductions, write to both:

  • the Centralised Attachment of Earning Payments (CAPS) office
  • the court who issued the order

Include the:

  • court case number
  • attachment of earnings order number
  • name of the employee

PO Box 404

Priority and non-priority orders

There are 2 types of orders - priority orders and non-priority orders. The way you calculate deductions for them is different.

Type of order What it’s used for If you cannot make the full deduction
Priority Maintenance or fines Carry the unpaid difference over to the next payday
Non-priority Civil debts Do not carry the unpaid difference over to the next payday

If your employee has more than one order

Deduct any priority orders first, in the order the employee got them. Then deduct the non-priority orders in the order the employee got them.

You can apply to the court to combine 2 or more non-priority orders into a single order. This is called a ‘consolidated attachment of earnings order’.