The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have confirmed that DEA deductions are to be temporarily suspended.
A news alert regarding the Employer Guide indicated that the following change had been made:
Added explanation that benefit debt repayments have been temporarily stopped because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Employers should not make any DEA deductions to employees’ pay in April, May or June 2020.
However, the Employer Guide has not been amended. Instead, the page where this is housed on Gov.UK has been updated with the following statement:
Changes to DEA deductions because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
DWP are writing to employers to ask them to temporarily stop benefit debt repayments. You should not make any DEA deductions to your employees’ pay in April, May or June 2020. You’ll be told if this will be extended.
Please contact your software supplier / payroll provider about this. Disabling DEA calculation functionality may not be possible with this short notice given that payrolls for April are being run even now.
At the time of writing, I have not seen an announcement about the temporary suspension of the Northern Ireland’s equivalent Collection Orders. However, this is a fast-moving environment and employers are advised to keep an eye out.
This applies to all Orders in fact (Attachment of Earnings, Earnings Arrestments etc).