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Paying on Time1, Part 3

In the previous article we outlined the Torah prohibitions that relate to paying workers. In this article we will discuss who must be paid on time.

The prohibition of bal tolin[2] applies to the wages of any worker. This includes a salaried employee, a service provider (such as a taxi driver), or a craftsman (such as a repairman).[3]

It can also apply to the wages or fees of someone hired for a day, an hour, or even for a single chore.

It can further apply to rental of moveable items (such as chairs or tables) and many authorities hold that it even applies to building space rentals (such as hotel room rentals).

It should also be noted that bal tolin comes into effect with wages as little as one prutah. Some authorities hold that it applies to payment of less than one prutah.

1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
2. This literally means, ‘do not delay’ and refers to the mitzvo not to delay payment. We will use this term throughout this series.
3. The details of the laws pertaining to a craftsman will be discussed in detail at a later point in the series.


Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and

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