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Attachment of Earnings (Northern Ireland)


Where a judgment debt is in arrears and the debtor is in PAYE employment you can make an application to the court to order the judgment debtor’s employer to make deductions from the judgment debtor’s earnings. If the court makes an order, the employer has to make deductions, at weekly or monthly intervals (or whenever they are paid), until the judgment debt is satisfied. This is known as ‘attaching’ the debtor’s earnings.  The court may also, in some circumstances, make an AEO without application from a judgment creditor. For example, to secure payments under an administration order or at the hearing of a judgment summons.



  1. Where an attachment of earnings order has been made, the employer shall, if he has been served with the order, comply with it; but he shall be under no liability for non-compliance before seven days have elapsed since the service.
  2. Where a person is served with an attachment of earnings order directed to him and he has not the debtor in his employment, or the debtor subsequently ceases to be in his employment, he shall (in either case), within 10 days from the date of service or, as the case may be, the cesser, give notice in writing of that fact to the Office.
  3. Part II of Schedule 1 shall have effect with respect to the priority to be accorded as between two or more attachment of earnings orders directed to a person either by the Office and a court, or by a court, in respect of the same debtor.
  4. On any occasion when the employer makes, in compliance with the order, a deduction from the debtor's earnings -
        (a)  he shall be entitled to deduct, in addition, £1 or such other sum as may be prescribed by rules  towards his clerical and administrative costs; and
        (b)  he shall give to the debtor a statement in writing of the total amount of the deduction.
  5. Any sum deducted by the employer from the debtor's earnings in compliance with the order, but not yet paid to the Office, shall in the bankruptcy or winding-up of the employer be treated as money held by the employer on trust for the Office.


Please note, you cannot deduct the admin charge of £1 if it takes their income below the National Minimum Wage. It's a criminal offence for employers to not pay someone the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.

Employers should check The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage or contact the ACAS helpline for advice.


Attaching an Order to an Employee within BrightPay


1) Go to Payroll, and select the employee from the listing

2) Under Additions & Deductions, click the Add button

3) Select Attachment Orders…

4) Click ‘Add Attachment Order’ and select the appropriate Attachment Order from the listing.


Setting up the Order



1) Enter a description for the Attachment Order.

2) Enter the reference number of the Attachment Order, which can be found on the documentation received.

3) Enter the date to apply the Order from.

4) Enter the date to stop – the Order should only be stopped once the full amount of the Order has been paid or you have received notification from the Courts to stop it.



1) Priority – tick the box provided if the Order is a priority order.

2) Periodic amount - enter the periodic amount to be deducted, as stated on the Order.

3) Protected Earnings – enter the Protected Earnings Rate for the employee, as stated on the Order.

4) Admin Charge – tick the box provided if you, the employer, wish to deduct £1 as an administration charge for operating the Order.

5) Enter the Attachment Shortfall at start

6) Enter the Earnings Shortfall at start

7) Cumulative amount paid at start - if the employee has already paid some of the attachment (for example in a previous employment) enter the amount here.

8) Enter any Year to Date deductions, if applicable

9) Click Save.


BrightPay will now apply the Attachment Order on the employee’s payslip from the relevant period.


Need help? Support is available at 0345 9390019 or

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