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For Employees – what if your Employer goes Bankrupt?
What happens if your employer goes bankrupt? Is there a process to ensure that you are looked after or will you have to wait for payment along with other creditors?
When a company files for bankruptcy in court in order to protect its assets while it reorganises, the general procedure is that the company is required to make a disposition of its assets and use the cash to pay off creditors. Taxes come first, followed by employee obligations, then outside creditors and lastly the shareholders. So as long as the bankruptcy was voluntary and your employer has a reasonable level of assets, you will probably receive outstanding salary although you may have to wait for a while for it to be paid. You would also expect to receive severance pay.
Where creditors force a company into bankruptcy it is unlikely the company will have sufficient assets to pay employees. Of course you can sue but the amounts could be small, your costs high and the wait lengthy.
The implication therefore is that if you find out your employer is in some distress, you should make sure that you are up-to-date with taking your holidays and all financial claims such as expense reimbursements are made. In short, taking sensible actions to lessen any impact on your personal finances.