Make child maintenance deductions from an employee's pay

What counts as earnings


A Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) can only be made from the following earnings:

  • wages, fees, bonus, commission, overtime pay or any payments on top of wages
  • private or occupational pensions and compensation payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • contractual sick pay
  • contractual maternity pay (not Statutory Maternity Pay)
  • contractual paternity pay (not Statutory Paternity Pay)
  • contractual adoption pay (not Statutory Adoption Pay)
  • contractual redundancy pay (not Statutory Redundancy Pay)
  • furlough pay

Statutory pay is money that employees are entitled to by law. Contractual pay is pay that you agree with your employees over and above statutory pay.

What doesn't count as earnings for DEOs

Your employee can't pay child maintenance by DEO if their only earnings are in the following categories:

  • amounts paid by a public department of any country outside the UK
  • any social security pension, allowance or benefit
  • tax credits
  • any pension or allowance paid for disability
  • guaranteed minimum pension within the Social Security Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1975
  • statutory maternity pay
  • statutory paternity pay
  • statutory adoption pay
  • statutory redundancy pay

For example, if your employee is only receiving statutory maternity, paternity or adoption pay, they cannot pay child maintenance by a DEO.

However, once they return to work - or if they are receiving any contractual maternity, paternity or adoption pay - they may choose to, or be required to, pay by DEO.

If you have any questions you can contact the Child Maintenance Service:

Online using My Child Maintenance Case.

The service also lets you:

  • see all deductions for the Child Maintenance Service
  • report and make changes
  • send messages
  • see important information you've been sent


You can also call if you have any questions.

Child Maintenance Service Employer Payment Team
Telephone: 0800 232 1961
Text relay number: 18001 0800 171 2345
nidirect guidance on contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers.

  • CMS employer helpline
    0800 232 1961
  • CMS text relay number
    18001 0800 171 2345
Developed with:
  • Department for Communities