Q: Who is included in the halachic requirement for timely payment of wages?
A: We mentioned in the beginning of this series that there is a mitzvah to pay wages in a timely manner and two prohibitions against delaying payment: “B’yomo siten scharo, v’lo savo alav hashemesh – On that day you shall pay his hire; the sun shall not set upon it” (Devarim 24:15); “Lo salin pe’ulas sachir itecha ad boker – A worker’s wage should not remain with you overnight.” (Vayikra 19:13)
The requirement to pay promptly and the associated prohibitions to delay apply to both regular employees and someone hired on a one-time basis. It also does not make a difference whether the worker is paid by the hour or paid a flat fee for the job. (Choshen Mishpat 339:6)
Furthermore, the requirement applies even to services rendered by a minor (e.g., babysitting, lawn mowing), and even if the wages amount to a small sum. It also applies regardless of whether the worker is poor or wealthy. (Ahavas Chesed 9:3,5,8)
In addition, this requirement to pay promptly applies not only to wages, but also to rental fees. There is an opinion that the prohibition does not apply to property rental, but many authorities maintain that it applies also to real estate. (C.M. 339:1; Ahavas Chesed 9:5) Therefore, a renter has to be especially careful to pay his rent bill promptly. The same is true for someone who leases an auto or other equipment.
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 (www.businesshalacha.com) and is under the auspices of Rav Chaim Kohn.