When a County Court judge issues an Attachment of Earnings Order against an employee, you, the employer, must deduct an amount from the employee’s earnings to pay the debt. As the employer, it is your responsibility to send the money to the court. In Scotland (for Scottish residents), an attachment is referred to as an arrestment.

Use this window to record details of Attachment of Earnings Orders or court orders – that is, any legally authorized deductions to be made from an employee’s pay until the outstanding debt is recovered fully, or until the end period specified in the attachment is reached.

The attachment amount an employee pays in each pay period until the debt is repaid can be a value you specify, or it can be an amount calculated by the system.

You specify a value in the Amount field.

Alternatively, you can specify a payroll code the system uses to calculate the amount. It does this by referring to a table of net earnings bands associated with the payroll code and applying a percentage of the band in which the employee’s net earnings fall. For attachments, when someone’s earnings fall into the last range, the system takes a percentage of the earnings up to the last but one range, the percentage for the last range is applied to any earnings that exceed the last but one range, and the system totals the two amounts to calculate the deduction. An arrestment amount is calculated differently, by totalling the percentage amount of each band the employee’s net earnings exceed, up to and including the band in which the employee’s net earnings fall.

You specify the payroll code in the Payment/Deduction field. You define the payroll code in the Payment/Deduction window by setting Type of Code to Automatic and Payment/Deduction is set to Deduction, setting Calculation Type to Salary and Operator to Table, and by defining the net earnings bands on the Tables tab. For examples about how to specify a table for attachments or arrestments by using the Tables tab, refer to Tables.

The attachment amount is deducted from the employee’s net earnings (gross taxable pay minus the deductions for tax, NI, and for a pension payment).

When an employee has several attachment orders, the system deducts payments according to the priority you assign to the attachment order. The system also examines any start and end periods set for the attachment, and the total amount owed.

For examples of how to set up an attachment or arrestment, refer to Attachments and arrestments.


Type a reference for the attachment.


Type a description for the attachment.

Reference Date

Type a date (in the format DD/MM/YYYY), or click  and select a date from the calendar.


Use this field to indicate whether the deductions are for an attachment or an arrestment.

If the deductions are for an attachment (not an arrestment), select No from the drop-down list.

If the deductions are for an arrestment made from April 6 2010, select Post April 2010 from the drop-down list. The tables used for arrestment deductions changed from April 2010.


Type the total amount owed. This is the initial balance – the debt that has to be repaid.

Deductions are made until the debt is repaid or until the period specified in End Period is reached. The final payment is adjusted to be the residual balance of the debt, rather than the proposed period payment. You specify the value of the deduction in each period by using either a payroll code, which you specify in the Payment/Deduction field, or you specify the amount in the Amount field.


Select the payroll code for the attachment deduction from the drop-down list. The system uses the settings for the payroll code to calculate the amount deducted in each pay period.

In the settings for the payroll code, Type of Code must be set to Automatic, Payment/Deduction must be set to Deduction, Calculation Type must be set to Salary and Operator to Table, and the net income bands must be defined in a table on the Tables tab.

The attachment amount is calculated based on a percentage of the net earnings, so the amount deducted might vary in each pay period. In the table, the system assumes the final band describes the residual percentage that applies when the net earnings exceed the definition of the previous bands. For arrestments after April 2010, the table refers to percentages.

If you set a lower limit default for the payroll code and the value of the calculated deduction is below the lower limit, the system sets the value of the deduction to the lower limit value.



Type the value of the deduction to be subtracted from the net earnings until the total debt is repaid, or until the period specified in End Period is reached.


Type the protected net earnings value, which is the minimum value that must be earned in any pay period before a deduction is made. If an employee’s net earnings are less than this value in the pay period, no deduction is made. If a payment is not made, or only a part-payment of the proposed amount is made, the system adds the shortfall amount to the value in the Brought Forward field.


Type the priority for this attachment. For example, if the attachment has the highest priority, type 1.

When an employee has several attachment orders, you use this field to indicate the order of priority in which deductions for them must be made (before the protected earnings value is reached and no further deductions can be made). This priority indicator grades the deduction orders, to ensure they are processed in the required sequence of importance until the protected earnings value (when specified) is reached.

GEN Code



View-only. For the selected attachment, this field displays the total of all payments made to date. The period end process accumulates this total after each value is deducted.

Brought Forward

View-only. When a protected earnings value is defined in the Protected field, it is possible that some deductions are not made, or not made fully, in some periods. Any unpaid amount is carried forward to the next pay period. For example, if the deduction amount value specified in Amount is £150, but only £100 can be deducted by the system because of the protected earnings, £50 is added to the brought forward total. The brought forward balance is updated after you run the period end process.

When the system calculates the payment for a subsequent period, an increased deduction might be made that reduces the brought forward balance. In this instance, the deduction can be greater than the amount specified in Amount, to reduce as much of the brought forward balance as possible. The deduction never takes the employee’s net earnings below the specified protected earnings.


View-only. This is the value of the outstanding debt to be repaid. Deductions stop when the total of the payments is equal to this total debt value. This balance is updated after you run the period end process.

Period Range

Start Period

Optional. Type the start period from which a deduction is made. If you leave this field blank, the system checks the End Period field. If you do not specify a start or end period, the system processes deductions until the value in Balance is paid.

End Period

Optional. Type the end period to specify when deductions stop. If you specify an end period, deductions stop in that period even if there is a balance outstanding.


Click Address to enter and maintain an address against the attachment order. The Address Maintenance window is displayed.