Can an employer be ordered by law to deduct wages from an employee?

Under the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971, the Courts Act 2003, the Child Support Act 1991, the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 and the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/613) an employer is legally obliged to make a deduction directly from an employee's wages if the employee is subject to a court order to pay money. The court will make the order if it believes that the employee has failed or is likely to fail to pay the sums due through other means. Courts can consolidate orders made under either Act into a single order under the Courts Act 2003. From 30 November 2004 deductions from employees' net pay are legally enforceable under a Debt Arrangement Scheme for those habitually resident in Scotland.

An employer must make student loan deductions when authorised to do so by an approved HM Revenue & Customs form or communication. Penalties can be charged at a rate not exceeding £3,000 for each employee where an employer does not comply through fraud or negligence.