Business Halacha: Delaying Payment of Salaries


check-payment-moneyQ: There is no cash available this month to cover payroll. May I delay payment of salaries?

A: There is a mitzvah to pay wages promptly. However, an employer does not violate the prohibition of delaying wages if he does not have funds to pay the employee. (Choshen Mishpat 339:10)

If the employer does not have sufficient funds to cover the payroll entirely, he must still pay whatever amount he is able to. Furthermore, if the employer has accessible funds in the bank or entrusted with someone, he is required to procure them, even if it involves time and effort. (Ahavas Chesed 9:7,10; Rama C.M. 104:4)

If the employer does not have funds, but has assets that can be sold, there is a dispute whether he is required to sell them in order to raise cash for payment of wages. (See R. Akiva Eiger C.M. 339:10) If he can borrow money in order to pay promptly, it is proper that he do so. (Pischei Teshuva 339:8; Ahavas Chesed 9:7)

In any case, a person should not hire a worker if he does not expect to be able to pay him promptly, unless the worker was told ahead of time and he agreed to receive payment later. (Ahavas Chesed 10:12)

 Authored by Rabbi Meir Orlian

These articles are for learning purposes only and cannot be used for final halachic decision. The Business Halacha email is a project of Business Halacha Institute ( and is under the auspices of Rav Chaim Kohn.



  1. “In any case, a person should not hire a worker if he does not expect to be able to pay him promptly, unless the worker was told ahead of time and he agreed to receive payment later. (Ahavas Chesed 10:12)”

    So…if a Mosod misses payroll more often than it makes it, and the workers did not agree to that, they are over an issur doirisah.

    There is another Issur of Lo Sashok which could apply to this as well (see Rashi Vayikra 19:13)

  2. What about when the employer gives us checks that bounce 1 out of every 7 times – approx? Is that beseder? Is he mechuyav to pay my bank fee for the returned check? In my shulchan aruch, he is to be horse whipped in public, lifnei am viever!!!

  3. After reading this Halachic post I was wondering then how do our wonderful Mosdos deal with this? They do not pay on time and perhaps they do not have to sell their buildings to pay on time but should they borrow to make payroll? How can they pay it back? Should they be allowed to run building campaigns which will increase the deficit if they cannot already make the payroll they have?

    Yes, i am an employee of a Mosad and these questions are bothering me. I am 5 months behind in pay (and I know the Mosad I work for does not have the funds to pay me and they are trying hard to raise them) I am asking what that achrayus is and how long do we allow our schools to continue if they cannot pay? We can’t close them so what should be done?

  4. I’m sure that there are a lot of “kulos” regarding this ????. It’s based on these that so many Yeshivos get away without paying their staff on time.

  5. Having had this happen to me personally, and heard the lame excuses my (soon ex-) employer can up with, all I can say is “GO TO A G’MACH!” You’d go to a g’mach to cover a chaseneh. So for sure you can go to a g’mach to make sure your employees’ children have what to eat.

  6. Oh, and just remember, if you show no loyalty to your employees, you can’t expect them to show any loyalty to you. They won’t work as hard. They may quit. They will certainly tell their families, who will probably tell everyone they know what a bum you are. And this is permissible if there’s a chance of anyone doing business with you, since it certainly doesn’t say much for your reliability.

    Need I go on? Sell your crystal chandelier if you have to, but pay your workers so their families can eat.

  7. WHY Don’t these Mosdos start paying their employees on time??????????
    If there’s not enough money in their account to pay: the solution would be to borrow from a gemach the sum that you need for your employees and play the catch up game on your own!
    Don’t use your employees, Rebbie, teachers, morah etc as a pawn to balance your checkbooks.
    More often, not paying on time creates a domino effect where these honest, hardworking people are unable to pay their children’s yeshiva and morah on time.not to mention not paying for food or rent.
    This in turn causes the breakdown of society where people have to go into debt eventhough they’re doing what they are supposed to.namely dragging themselves out of bed and going to work.
    Please Mosdos make a payment plan with a Gemach and leave your employees out of your financial irresponsibility.
    For G-d Sake. PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES ON TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!