Please note, the Civic offices are closed to visitors on Wednesdays for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support enquiries. 

Information about DEA's for customers

A Direct Earnings Attachment allows us to recover the money owed to us by asking your employer to make deductions from your earnings and to pay those deductions to us.

It is possible for Reading to apply for a DEA as soon as 30 days after the date that an invoice is issued if it remains unpaid, or if we are unable to reach an agreement on recovery.

Your employer has a legal duty to make the deduction and the amount that can be deducted will depend on the amount of your net earnings each week or month.

Your employer has a duty to inform you in writing of the amount of the deduction including any amount for administrative costs.

Deductions will continue until the balance of the debt has been repaid.

The law allows us to do this without applying to a Civil Court and your employer is legally bound to comply if requested to do so. 

Regulations provide that a proportion of your earnings are protected, this is calculated at 60% of net earnings.

The amount your employer will take each time you are paid will depend on the amount of your earnings and could be up to 20% of your net earnings.

Your employer may also charge you an administration fee; this will not exceed £1 for each payment deducted from your earnings.   

Legal responsibilities

You are legally required to notify us in writing within seven days if:

  • you leave your current employment
  • you become re-employed

Such a notification must include the following information:

  • the name and address of your new employer(s)
  • the amount of your earnings or expected earnings
  • your place of work, nature of your work, any staff number, payroll number or similar identifying number

Help and advice

If you would like any independent advice on this matter, you can contact a local Citizens Advice Bureau, Welfare Rights Unit or the Community Legal Service. You can ask any of these organisations to contact us on your behalf. 

Amounts to be deducted by your employer

Where earnings are paid weekly:

Amount of net earningsDeduction (percent of net earnings)
Less than £100Nil
Exceeding £100 but not exceeding £1603%
Exceeding £160 but not exceeding £2205%
Exceeding £220 but not exceeding £2707%
Exceeding £270 but not exceeding £37511%
Exceeding £375 but not exceeding £52015%
Exceeding £52020%

Where earnings are paid monthly:

Amount of net earningsDeduction (percent of net earnings)
Less than £430Nil
Exceeding £430 but not exceeding £6903%
Exceeding £690 but not exceeding £9505%
Exceeding £950 but not exceeding £1,1607%
Exceeding £1,160 but not exceeding £1,61511%
Exceeding £1,615 but not exceeding £2,24015%
Exceeding £2,24020%

a) The protected earnings level

Please note: the total of all deductions (the DEA plus any other deductions in place) cannot leave you with less than the protected earnings proportion, which is 60% of your total net earnings during the calculating period to which the deduction relates.

b) If you are paid every 2 weeks

If you are paid 2 weekly, the total net wage is divided by 2 and table A is used to check the percentage rate.

c) If you are paid every 4 weeks

If you are paid 4 weekly, the total net wage is divided by 4 and table A is used to check the percentage rate.

NB: You cannot be left with less than 60% of your total net earnings.

d) Holiday Pay

If you are paid a wage which includes holiday pay paid in advance, the net wage is averaged, and the percentage rate applied to the average figure. For example:

You receive one weeks wage and 2 weeks holiday pay. Total net payment for 3 weeks = £850.

  • £850 ÷ 3 = £283.33
  • £283.33 x 11% = £31.17

Total deduction from the net wage for 3 weeks of £850 = £93.51 (£31.17 x 3).

e) Rounding

The exact amount of the net wage is used against table A & B. If the percentage amount calculated results in a fraction of a penny, it is rounded to the nearest whole penny, with a result of exactly half a penny being rounded down to the nearest whole penny below, as follows:

  • Net wage £235.63 per week
    • £235.63 x 7% = £16.4941
    • Weekly deduction = £16.49
  • Net wage £1547.99 per month
    • £1547.99 x 11% = £170.278
    • Monthly deduction = £170.28

f) Administrative costs - what you can be charged

For each pay period a DEA deduction is calculated, your employer may also take up to £1 from your earnings towards administrative costs. This can taken even if it reduces your income below the protected earnings proportion.

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