Paying on Time1 Part 8
Previously, we saw that if the employer hires the worker through an
intermediary then there is no bal tolin.
If the employer is unable to hire the worker through the intermediary, and
there is a chance that the worker will not be paid on time, then one should
do the following: At the time of hiring the worker, the employer should ask
him to agree to be paid at a later time. If the worker agrees, then there
will be no transgression of bal tolin. However, the employer should still
make every possible effort to pay the worker on time.
One other issue to be aware of with regard to paying the worker, is when
there is a dispute at the end of the work as to how much the worker should
be paid: It is a common occurrence that a price is not agreed upon at the
start of the work. Then, after the work has been completed, there is a
dispute as to how much the worker should be paid. This is a very difficult
situation, because, on the one hand, if the employers pays less than the
amount that the worker truly deserves, he will transgress the six Mitzvot
that relate to bal tolin. On the other hand, if he pays more than he feels
he owes, he will feel cheated, and there will be obvious negative feelings.
Therefore, the authorities strongly advise that the parties involved agree
upon a price before starting the job – it can be a fixed price or an hourly
rate. In this way, there will be no basis for dispute as to the price to be
paid at the end.
1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other
People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
2. In the event that the worker claims that the work took longer than he
expected, of he faced unforeseen difficulties, an Orthodox Rabbi should be