Attachment of salary
As a general rule, one third of wages, salaries, pensions, unemployment benefits and maternity benefits can be garnished. In this context, holiday pay, perquisites, commissions and various fees are also considered as wages. The garnished amount is calculated from the debtor’s income net of tax. Social subsidies, such as rent support and child subsidies, cannot be garnished.
When effecting a garnishment, it is always required that a protected portion, that is, the amount needed for the livelihood of the debtor and his or her family, is left ungarnished. In the calculation of the protected portion, due note is taken of the persons the debtor-supports, including the spouse and the minor children and adopted children of the debtor or the spouse, if residing in the same household. If the spouse or the children have an income of their own exceeding the protected portion, €672,30 per month as of January 1st, 2017, they are disregarded in the determination of the protected portion.
The debtor is sent an advance notice of the garnishment, indicating the debt that is being enforced, the protected portion, and the time of the garnishment. If the information in the advance notice is erroneous or if the debtor e.g. wishes to repay the debt, he or she must contact the enforcement officer in charge of the matter.
Once the garnishment has been effected, the enforcement authority issues a withholding notice to the payer of the wages, salary or pension, who is thereafter required to withhold the garnished amount. The garnishment continues until the debt has been repaid.
The debtor may appeal against the garnishment in a District Court.
Calculation of the amount to be withheld from wages paid at regular intervals in different cases as of January 1st, 2017
Wages or other income means in this context the net wages or income, that is the sum the debtor is left with after the subtraction of the tax and the mandatory premiums from the gross salary.
The debtor must be left with a protected portion, which as of the beginning of 2017 is €22,41 per day for the debtor and €8,04 per day for all dependents (for instance the debtor’s children).
To the protected portion of the debtor, €22,41 is added €8,04 per day for all dependants. The number of dependants is indicated in the withholding notice the enforcement authority has sent to the payer of the debtor’s wages or salary.
The protected portion is calculated by multiplying the protected portion per day by the number of days in the payment period. If the wages or other income is paid for a calendar month the number of days is always 30.
The protected portions are adjusted annually in accordance with the national pension index.
Protected portion per calendar month as of January 1st, 2017:
Single debtor: €672,30
+1 dependent: €913,50
+2 dependents: €1154,70
+3 dependents: €1395,90
Withheld amounts (in the list below wages means all income):
1. If the wages are less than the protected portion there will be no garnishment.
2. If the wages exceed the protected portion, the amount to be withheld equals 2/3 of the amount that exceeds the protected portion (“income limit garnishment" 2/3 x (wages – protected portion)).
3. If the wages are more than two times the protected portion, the amount to be withheld equals 1/3 of the wages.
4. If the wages are more than 4 times the protected portion, the total attachement is calculated as follows:
- (4 x the protected portion) : 4 = attached portion
- and 4/5 x (net salary - (4 x protected portion)) = attached portion
- the final portion is the sum of these attached portions. Please note that the maximum attached portion is never higher that 50 per cent of the net salary
The protected portion of the debtor is €672,30 per month (30 x 22,41 = 672,30)
The protected portion of the debtor and his or her one dependent is €913,50 per month (30 x (22,41 + 8,04) = 913,50)
The protected portion of the debtor and his or her two dependents is €1154,70 per month (30 x (22,41 + 8,04 + 8,04) = 1154,70)
The wages of the debtor are €900 per month. The debtor has no dependents. The protected portion is €678,00 per month. The protected portion multiplied by two is €1356,00. The wages of the debtor exceed the protected portion, but are less than two times the protected portion. The amount to be withheld is 2/3 of the amount that exceeds the protected portion, which adds up to 2/3 x (900-678) = €148,00
The wages of the debtor are €1 380 per month. The debtor has no dependents. The protected portion is €672,30 per month. The protected portion multiplied by two is €1344,60. The wages are more than two times the protected portion. The amount to be withheld equals 1/3 of the wages, which adds up to 1/3 x 1 380 = €460.
The wages of the debtor are €3200 per month. The debtor has no dependents. The protected portion is €672,30 per month. 4 times the protected portion is €2689,20. The amount to be withheld equals 1/3 x 2689,20 = 896,40 plus 4/5 x (3200 - 2989,20) = 408,64. The total amount to be withheld adds up to 896,40 + 408,64 = 1305,04 euro.
Please note that the maximum attached portion is never higher that 50 per cent of the net salary.
Calculator for calculation of the amount to be withheld from wages paid at regular intervals (only available in Finnish and Swedish)
Illness, unemployment or a comparable reason may be taken into account in the garnishment in given cases.
If a debtor has been unemployed for at least a year prior to the garnishment of wages, he or she has the right to a deferral of garnishment of at most six months from the beginning of the employment relationship. A deferral requires that the debtor's income is no more than twice the amount of the protected portion (income limit garnishment).
If the above conditions are not fulfilled, the debtor may be granted a discretionary deferral for a maximum of four months from the beginning of the employment relationship.
However, the deferral period can be half of the period of employment at most.
A deferral may be denied if
1) The debtor has been granted a deferral on a previous occasion and a new deferral would materially compromise the applicant’s right to receive payments;
2) If a discretionary deferral is in question and the applicant's right to payment would be materially compromised; or
3) If the period of unemployment has lasted for a short time and there are no compelling grounds for granting a deferral.
In the collection of child maintenance payments, garnishment can only be deferred on compelling grounds.
Once the garnishment has been in effect for a year without interruption or almost without interruption, the debtor is entitled to apply for leniency, in the form of payment-free months. They can be awarded, provided that
1) the garnishment has been carried out as so called income limit garnishment,
2) the necessary dwelling costs or other living expenses of the debtor are high in relation to the amount left to him or her after the garnishment,
3 there is another special reason for the payment-free month (e.g. expenses for eyeglasses or the purchase of necessary household appliances).
In so called income limit garnishment the debtor has the right to two payment-free months per year and these are awarded officially. On other grounds at most three payment-free months per year may be awarded on the request of the debtor.
A debtor may not be awarded a payment-free month and a restriction in the amount on the same ground. When the garnishment concerns maintenance payment-free months or restrictions in the amount may be awarded only for weighty reasons.