Make child maintenance deductions from an employee's pay

Protected earnings rate and protected earnings proportion

Protected earnings are the amount of earnings a paying parent can keep under a Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) to pay for their own living costs. There are two types of protected earnings:

  • the protected earnings rate applies to cases assessed before 3 March 2003
  • the protected earnings proportion applies to cases assessed on or after 3 March 2003

As long as your employee earns enough money in the pay period for you to take the normal deduction rate and leave them with the amount of their protected earnings, you must take the amount shown on the deduction from earnings order, and pay this to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

What happens if you cannot take a full deduction

If your employee has not earned enough for you to take a full deduction at the normal rate you must inform CMS of this as soon as possible.

The process of deducting child maintenance payments if the paying parent's income regularly falls below the protected earnings amount will be different depending on whether it comes under the old scheme, or the current scheme (applicable on or from 3 March 2003).

How to contact CMS

For help or more information:

  • call CMS employer helpline on 0800 171 2306
  • if you have speech or hearing difficulties, a textphone service is available on 0800 587 1381
  • email CMS at - this is not a secure email address so do not enter personal information

The CMS employer helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 08:00 to 17:00.

nidirect guidance on contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers.