Updated guidance on the treatment of DEAs during the outbreak of coronavirus

10 July 2020

Due to the impact that coronavirus, or COVID-19, has had on almost every aspect of our daily lives, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) announced that it would be writing to employers to instruct them to temporarily stop benefit debt repayments, and that no Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) deductions should be taken from employee pay in April, May or June 2020.

As advised in a previous news piece, DWP confirmed that any DEA issued by them should be cancelled and that employers should await written confirmation before actioning any deductions.

This considers that many people may have lost their jobs because of coronavirus or may just be living under completely different circumstances. It may be that people opt to pay directly to DWP and not have the funds deducted through payroll. In light of this fact, and how significantly things may have changed, the DWP will be contacting individuals directly and then will be sending letters to employers should there be the requirement for a DEA to be added to an employee’s payroll record.

The key point is that employers and payroll professionals should not recommence DEA deductions for staff until they receive a instructions telling them to do so. Guidance has now been updated to reflect this, advising that “We will write to you when you need to restart making deductions.”

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