Make child maintenance deductions from an employee's pay

Deduction from Earnings Orders - 1993 and 2003 schemes

The aim of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is to get regular child maintenance payments for the children they are meant for. This means that it needs to collect money that is owed by the paying parent - parents who don't have day-to-day care of the child - and get it to the parent who provides most of the child's care.

CMS will send you a Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) if one of your employees is a non-resident parent who:

  • chooses to pay child maintenance direct from their earnings
  • does not pay the correct amount of child maintenance on time
  • fails to pay at all

What is a DEO?

A DEO is a way of collecting child maintenance directly from a paying parent's earnings or pension.

When CMS sends you a DEO for one of your employees, you should give it to the person who organises the payment of wages or pensions in your organisation. You must take the amount of child maintenance stated on the DEO from your employee's net earnings or their pension, and pay it to CMS at the intervals given in the order.

In general, you will be asked to make payments in line with your payroll so if you pay weekly or monthly, you should pay CMS at the same time. If you pay monthly, you should send the money you deduct to CMS as soon as possible after the deduction has been made and never later than the 19th of the month following the month in which the deduction was taken.

Once you have sent the money you have deducted to CMS and it has been cleared through CMS's bank, CMS will pass it on to the parent or person who cares for the child. The earlier you make the payment the sooner it can be sent on. It is important that money is collected and sent quickly as a delay could cause hardship to the children who need it.

Changes after a DEO has been set up

If your employee's circumstances change, eg if they leave your employment or if their salary changes, CMS will send you and your employee a revised DEO. You and your employee will also be sent an annual letter to remind you how much must be paid and when.

If CMS decides to end a DEO, they will write to you and your employee, telling you that the DEO has been cancelled and that you should stop taking deductions from the date of the letter. You must only stop taking deductions if CMS tells you to do so in writing.

If your business ceases trading, or if an employee for whom you make DEO payments leaves your employment, you must tell CMS in writing within 10 days. See employers' legal obligations for deducting child maintenance.