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if your a failing company worker do you still get paid?

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Dirk’s Answer

First, let me preface by saying that I am NOT a lawyer. I can only tell you how I assume this is working.

My assumption is that your wages are legally secured. Which would mean that you could enforce payments and become one of the first people to get paid out in case of a bankruptcy. BUT: in order to ensure your payments, you might have to hire a lawyer (costs for YOU) and then wait until the legal proceedings for your case and the bankruptcy case are coming to an end. I have seen cases (circle of my friends) where the business owner took advantage of his employees inabilities to hire a lawyer and hence saved their wages...

Sorry that I cannot give you better advice. And I might be wrong.
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Kelsa’s Answer

The short answer, yes. You put in time, you are contractually obligated to get paid. If the company cannot afford to pay wages, typically your local government has some sort of system in place to secure wages such as unemployment. If for example, the company goes files for bankruptcy, most companies will allow workers to continue to work as long as they could afford to pay them. There can be layoffs during that time. Typically it would fall along the lines of “the last hired, the first fired.” If they cannot afford to pay you or just up and closes, you can get free legal counseling to know the next steps.
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Patrick’s Answer

The short answer is definitely yes. Firstly, because failing companies will offload labor costs at the first signs of financial difficulties. Labor costs are almost always a companies' number one cost, thus it takes the hit first when money starts drying up. Right now as we begin to enter what appears to be a recession you will see major companies laying off workers to cover losses. You may not keep your job, but you certainly will get paid up until that time.
Secondly, companies are required by federal labor laws to pay workers, even if it means liquidating the physical assets of the company to do it. If a company files for bankruptcy, unpaid wages will definitely be included in the claim. If the company is bought out, the purchasing company will have unpaid wages included in the purchase price.
The rules begin to change when employees are paid by non-wage compensation, such as some tech start ups. This is where my familiarity ends. But if you are working for a major corporation and things go under- yes you will continue to get paid as long as they keep you on the job.
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Chris’s Answer

In most cases the answer is yes. I don't want to say a definitive yes without knowing your specific role or company, but in most situations the answer would be a yes. If you do the job, the company is legally require to pay you for the work you have done. The only exception to this that I can think of would be commission based roles where your compensation is based on sales or a similar metric. If the company is failing and because of this you aren't able to sell anything, your pay would take a drastic hit. In short, the answer is yes, you are still entitled to pay for the work you have done or sales you have made for the company per your employment contract. Even if they completely ran out of money, you would still be due those funds (although it may take being a party in their bankruptcy proceedings or other legal action to collect). The last case would be an absolute worst case scenario.

Obviously there are always unique situations so if you fall into one of these the above answer could change and would contact an employment attorney if you are truly concerned.
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