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Will I lose my job if I am declared Bankrupt?

There are a lot of myths about the bad things that can happen to you when you are declared bankrupt – whether you petition for bankruptcy yourself or are forced into bankruptcy by your creditors. For many years this was one of the worst things that could happen to you and it was viewed as a stigma by many people.

Nowadays, with so many UK consumers getting into serious debt difficulties, however, bankruptcy is better viewed as a solution. This is now a much more commonly taken solution and, for many UK consumers who can see no other way of repaying what they owe, it is often the only solution.

Of course bankruptcy is probably the most extreme form of debt management. It should not be entered into lightly and is best taken as a solution when you can see no other viable ways of repaying your debts. This debt management solution does come with a range of restrictions and legal obligations that you must adhere to. Some may not actually have that great an impact on your life but some will have some effects.

One of the restrictions that worries people the most when they consider declaring themselves bankrupt is what will happen to their jobs. We’ve all heard stories, after all, of people, who got the sack after they were declared bankrupt. It is true in certain cases that you cannot carry on working in certain professions when you are bankrupt but it doesn’t mean that this would be an issue for other jobs. The main professions where you cannot work having been made bankrupt include:
  • Certain legal fields – you cannot be a member of the Law Society, for example.

  • Certain financial fields – you cannot be an Insolvency Practitioner or a Stockbroker.

  • Estate Agency

  • Pub Licensees.

This is not an exhaustive list and carrying on with your job after you have been declared bankrupt may, in some cases, also be up to your employer. Some companies will not have a problem but others may feel differently. Your first task here, if you are not sure where you stand, is to check out your contract of employment. If this states that your employment can be terminated if you are declared bankrupt then you may have to face the fact that this could happen to you.

You may also find that your bankruptcy may invalidate certain professional registrations and licenses that you have gained as part of your job on either a permanent or a temporary basis. You’ll need to check with the professional body that issued the registration or license in the first place to check out the situation here and how it might impact on your job and ability to do it.

In general terms, however, most employers nowadays will take a more sympathetic view on bankruptcy than they may have done in the past. Most people know that this is a commonly taken debt management solution nowadays and will not hold it against you. If, however, your employer feels that this will affect your ability to do your job or may have a negative impact on their business then they may well not be so sympathetic.

Do remember that you do still have rights here. Whilst you can lose your job in some other cases when you are declared bankrupt apart from those listed above, your employer cannot simply use this as an excuse to get rid of you for no good reason. If you feel that you have been unfairly treated then do take legal advice to see where you stand and whether you have a case for unfair dismissal.
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