1

It is a positive commandment to pay a worker his wage on time, as Deuteronomy 24:15 states: "On the day it is due, pay him his wage." If an employer delays payment, he violates a negative commandment, as that verse continues: "Do not let the sun set without him receiving it." Lashes are not given for the violation of this prohibition, for he is liable to pay.

This principle applies to the wage of a person or the fee for hiring an animal or a utensil. In all these instances, one is obligated to make payment when due, and if one delays payment, one violates a negative commandment.

The obligation to pay a wage when due applies to a resident alien, but one does not transgress a negative commandment if one delays paying him.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִתֵּן שְׂכַר הַשָּׂכִיר בִּזְמַנּוֹ שׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד טו) "בְּיוֹמוֹ תִתֵּן שְׂכָרוֹ" וְגוֹ'. וְאִם אִחֲרוֹ לְאַחַר זְמַנּוֹ עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד טו) "וְלֹא תָבוֹא עָלָיו הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ". וְאֵין לוֹקִין עָלָיו שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. אֶחָד שְׂכַר הָאָדָם וְאֶחָד שְׂכַר הַבְּהֵמָה וְאֶחָד שְׂכַר הַכֵּלִים חַיָּב לִתֵּן בִּזְמַנּוֹ וְאִם אִחֵר לְאַחַר זְמַן עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. וְגֵר תּוֹשָׁב יֵשׁ בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם בְּיוֹמוֹ תִתֵּן שְׂכָרוֹ וְאִם אִחֲרוֹ אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה:

2

Whenever a person withholds the payment of a worker's wage, it is as if he takes his soul from him, as Deuteronomy 24:16 continues: "Because of it, he puts his life in his hand." He violates four admonitions and a positive commandment: He transgresses the commandments not to oppress a colleague, not to steal, not to hold overnight the wage of a worker and not to allow the sun to set before having paid him, and the positive commandment to pay him on time.

When are a worker's wages due? A person who is hired to work during the day should collect his wages at any time throughout the following night. With regard to him, Leviticus 19:13 states: "Do not hold the wage of a worker in your possession overnight until the morning."

A person who is hired to work during the night should collect his wages at any time throughout the following day. Concerning him, it is written: "On the day it is due, pay him his wage."

A person who is hired to work several hours during the day should collect his wage during the remainder of the day. A person who is hired to work several hours during the night, should collect his wage during the remainder of the night.

The following principles apply with regard to a person hired for a week, for a month, for a year or for a seven-year period. If he leaves his work during the day, he should collect his wage during the remainder of the day. If he leaves his work during the night, he should collect his wage during the remainder of the night.

ב

כָּל הַכּוֹבֵשׁ שְׂכַר שָׂכִיר כְּאִלּוּ נָטַל נַפְשׁוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד טו) "וְאֵלָיו הוּא נשֵֹׁא אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ". וְעוֹבֵר בְּאַרְבַּע אַזְהָרוֹת וַעֲשֵׂה. עוֹבֵר מִשּׁוּם בַּל (ויקרא יט יג) "תַּעֲשֹׁק" וּמִשּׁוּם בַּל (ויקרא יט יג) "תִּגְזל" וּמִשּׁוּם לֹא תָלִין פְּעֵלַּת שָׂכִיר וּמִשּׁוּם (דברים כד טו) "לֹא תָבוֹא עָלָיו הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ" וּמִשּׁוּם (דברים כד טו) "בְּיוֹמוֹ תִתֵּן שְׂכָרוֹ". אֵי זֶהוּ זְמַנּוֹ שְׂכִיר יוֹם גּוֹבֶה כָּל הַלַּיְלָה וְעָלָיו נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא יט יג) "לֹא תָלִין פְּעֵלַּת שָׂכִיר אִתְּךָ עַד בֹּקֶר". וּשְׂכִיר לַיְלָה גּוֹבֶה כָּל הַיּוֹם וְעָלָיו נֶאֱמַר בְּיוֹמוֹ תִתֵּן שְׂכָרוֹ. וּשְׂכִיר שָׁעוֹת שֶׁל יוֹם גּוֹבֶה כָּל הַיּוֹם וּשְׂכִיר שָׁעוֹת שֶׁל לַיְלָה גּוֹבֶה כָּל הַלַּיְלָה. שְׂכִיר שַׁבָּת שְׂכִיר חֹדֶשׁ שְׂכִיר שָׁנָה שְׂכִיר שָׁבוּעַ יָצָא בַּיּוֹם גּוֹבֶה כָּל הַיּוֹם יָצָא בַּלַּיְלָה גּוֹבֶה כָּל (אוֹתוֹ) הַלַּיְלָה:

3

If a person gives his garment to a tailor, and the tailor completes it and notifies him, the owner does not transgress this commandment as long as the garment is in the possession of the tailor. This applies even if he delays paying him for ten days.

If the tailor returned it in the middle of the day, once the sun sets, the employer transgresses the commandment for holding the worker's wage past its due date. For contracting work is governed by the same laws as hired labor, and the craftsman must be paid when his wage is

ג

נָתַן טַלִּיתוֹ לְאֻמָּן וּגְמָרָהּ וְהוֹדִיעוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אִחֲרוֹ עֲשָׂרָה יָמִים כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהַכְּלִי בְּיַד הָאֻמָּן אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵר. נְתָנָהּ בַּחֲצִי הַיּוֹם כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁקְעָה עָלָיו חַמָּה עוֹבֵר מִשּׁוּם בַּל (ויקרא יט יג) "תָּלִין" שֶׁהַקַּבְּלָנוּת כִּשְׂכִירוּת הִיא וְחַיָּב לִתֵּן לוֹ בִּזְמַנּוֹ:

4

The following rules apply when a person tells his agent: "Go out and hire workers for me," and the agent tells them: "The employer is responsible for your wages." They both do not transgress the prohibition against delaying payment of the worker's wages. The owner is not culpable, because he did not hire them, and the agent is not culpable, because he does not benefit from the workers' activity. If, however, the agent did not tell them: "The employer is responsible for your wages," the agent is considered to be transgressing the prohibition.

The employer does not transgress this prohibition unless the worker demanded payment and he did not give it to him. If, however, the worker did not demand payment or he demanded payment and the employer did not have the money to pay him, or he directed the worker to another person who accepted the responsibility of paying him, the employer is not culpable.

ד

הָאוֹמֵר לִשְׁלוּחוֹ צֵא וּשְׂכֹר לִי פּוֹעֲלִים. אָמַר לָהֶם שְׂכַרְכֶם עַל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שְׁנֵיהֶם אֵינָן עוֹבְרִין מִשּׁוּם בַּל (ויקרא יט יג) "תָּלִין" זֶה לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא שְׂכָרָן וְזֶה לְפִי שֶׁאֵין פְּעֻלָּתָן אֶצְלוֹ. וְאִם לֹא אָמַר לָהֶם שְׂכַרְכֶם עַל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הַשָּׁלִיחַ עוֹבֵר. אֵין הַשּׂוֹכֵר עוֹבֵר אֶלָּא בִּזְמַן שֶׁתְּבָעוֹ הַשָּׂכִיר וְלֹא נָתַן לוֹ אֲבָל אִם לֹא תְּבָעוֹ אוֹ שֶׁתְּבָעוֹ וְלֹא הָיָה לוֹ מַה יִּתֵּן לוֹ אוֹ שֶׁהִמְחָהוּ אֵצֶל אַחֵר וְקִבֵּל הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר:

5

When a person delays payment of a worker's wages until after they are due, he is liable to pay him immediately, although he has already violated the positive and the negative commandment mentioned above. Throughout the time he delays payment, he transgresses a Rabbinic commandment, as alluded to by Proverbs 3:28: "Do not tell your colleague, 'Go and return for tomorrow I will pay.'

ה

הַמַּשְׁהֶה שְׂכַר שָׂכִיר עַד אַחַר זְמַנּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכְּבָר עָבַר בַּעֲשֵׂה וְלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב לִתֵּן מִיָּד. וְכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּשְׁהֶה עוֹבֵר עַל לָאו שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ג כח) "אַל תֹּאמַר לְרֵעֲךָ לֵךְ וָשׁוּב":

6

The following rules apply whenever a worker who was hired in the presence of witnesses demands payment from his employer at the appointed time, the owner claims to have paid the wage, and the worker claims not to have received it. Our Sages ordained that, while holding a sacred object, the worker should take an oath that he did not receive his wage. He may then collect it according to the laws governing all those who take oaths and then collect their due.

The rationale for this ruling is that the employer is busy managing his workers and the worker is pinning his soul on his wage. Even if the worker is a minor, the worker may take an oath and collect his wage.

Different rules apply when the employer hired the worker without witnesses observing. Since the employer could say: "Such a thing never happened; I never hired you," we accept his claim when he says: "I hired you, and I paid you." Hence, the employer must take a sh'vuat hesset if he denies owing anything to the worker or a Scriptural oath if he admits a portion of his claim, as applies in all other suits. If there is one witness who testifies that the worker was hired, it is of no consequence.

Similarly, if the worker demands payment after the day on which his wage is due, we follow the principle: "A person who wishes to expropriate money from a colleague must prove his claim." This applies even if there are witnesses that the employer hired him. If he does not prove his claim, the employer may support his claim with a sh'vuat hesset and be freed of liability. If the worker proves that he has been continually demanding payment, he may take an oath and collect his wage on the day on which he demands payment.

What is implied? The worker performed labor for the employer on Monday until the evening. The time he should be paid is Monday night. On Tuesday, he can no longer take an oath and collect his wage. If he brings witnesses who testify that he demanded his wage throughout Monday night, he may take an oath and collect his wage throughout the day on Tuesday, but from Tuesday night onward, we follow the principle: "A person who wishes to expropriate money from a colleague must prove his claim."

Similarly, if he has witnesses who testify that he had demanded his wage until Thursday, he may take an oath and collect his wage throughout the day on Thursday.

ו

כָּל שָׂכִיר שֶׁשְּׂכָרוֹ בְּעֵדִים וּתְבָעוֹ בִּזְמַנּוֹ וְאָמַר בַּעַל הַבַּיִת נָתַתִּי לְךָ שְׂכָרְךָ וְהַשָּׂכִיר אוֹמֵר לֹא נָטַלְתִּי כְּלוּם תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע הַשָּׂכִיר בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְיִטּל כְּדִין כָּל נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבַּעַל הַבַּיִת טָרוּד בְּפוֹעֲלָיו וְזֶה הַשָּׂכִיר נוֹשֵׂא נַפְשׁוֹ לָזֶה. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַשָּׂכִיר קָטָן הַשָּׂכִיר נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל. שְׂכָרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּעֵדִים מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר לֹא הָיוּ דְּבָרִים מֵעוֹלָם וְלֹא שְׂכַרְתִּיךָ נֶאֱמָן לוֹמַר שְׂכַרְתִּיךָ וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ שְׂכָרְךָ וְיִשָּׁבַע בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הֶסֵּת שֶׁנָּתַן אוֹ שְׁבוּעַת הַתּוֹרָה אִם הוֹדָה בְּמִקְצָת כִּשְׁאָר הַטְּעָנוֹת. הָיָה לוֹ עֵד אֶחָד שֶׁשְּׂכָרוֹ אֵינוֹ מוֹעִיל לוֹ כְּלוּם וְכֵן אִם תְּבָעוֹ אַחֵר זְמַנּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשְּׂכָרוֹ בְּעֵדִים הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה יִשָּׁבַע בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הֶסֵּת. הֵבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁתְּבָעוֹ כָּל זְמַנּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל כָּל אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם שֶׁל תְּבִיעָה. כֵּיצַד. הָיָה עוֹשֶׂה עִמּוֹ בְּיוֹם שֵׁנִי עַד הָעֶרֶב זְמַנּוֹ כָּל לֵיל שְׁלִישִׁי וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי אֵינוֹ נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל. וְאִם הֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהָיָה תּוֹבְעוֹ כָּל לֵיל שְׁלִישִׁי הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל כָּל יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי. אֲבָל מִלֵּיל רְבִיעִי וָהָלְאָה הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְכֵן אִם הֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהָיָה תּוֹבְעוֹ וְהוֹלֵךְ עַד יוֹם חֲמִישִׁי הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל כָּל יוֹם חֲמִישִׁי:

7

The following rules apply when there is a difference between the employer and the worker with regard to the wage promised - e.g., the employer states "I promised you two zuz" and the worker states: "You promised me three."

In this instance, our Sages did not entitle the worker to support his claim with an oath. Instead, they applied the principle: "A person who wishes to expropriate money from a colleague must prove his claim," If the worker did not prove his claim, even though the employer already gave him the two zuz he admits owing him or says: "Here is your money," the employer must take an oath holding a sacred object. This oath was ordained by the Sages so that the worker will not depart with an unsatisfied soul.

When does the above apply? When the employer hired the worker in the presence of witnesses who did not know the wage they agreed on, and also when the worker demanded his wage on time. If, however, the employer hired the worker without this being observed by witnesses or the worker demanded payment after the time for payment passed, the employer is required to take only a sh'vuat hesset that he agreed to pay him no more than he already gave him or no more than he admits to owe him and told him that he was willing to pay, as is true with regard to all other claims.

ז

בַּעַל הַבַּיִת אוֹמֵר שְׁתַּיִם קָצַצְתִּי לְךָ וְהַשָּׂכִיר אוֹמֵר שָׁלֹשׁ קָצַצְתָּ לִי לֹא תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע הַשָּׂכִיר כָּאן אֶלָּא הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכְּבָר נָתַן לוֹ שְׁתַּיִם אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הֵילָךְ הֲרֵי בַּעַל הַבַּיִת נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְדָבָר זֶה תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים הוּא כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֵלֵךְ הַשָּׂכִיר בְּפַחֵי נֶפֶשׁ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁשְּׂכָרוֹ בְּעֵדִים וְלֹא יָדְעוּ כַּמָּה פָּסַק לוֹ וּתְבָעוֹ בִּזְמַנּוֹ אֲבָל אִם שְׂכָרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּעֵדִים אוֹ שֶׁתְּבָעוֹ אַחַר זְמַנּוֹ יִשָּׁבַע בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא קָצַץ לוֹ אֶלָּא מַה שֶּׁכְּבָר נָתַן לוֹ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁאַר לוֹ אֶצְלוֹ אֶלָּא זֶה שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הֵילָךְ כְּדִין כָּל הַטְּעָנוֹת:

8

The following rules apply when a person gives a garment to a tailor to mend, and a difference of opinion arises concerning the payment due the tailor. The tailor says: "You promised me two zuz," and the owner says: "I promised to pay only one."

As long as the garment is in the possession of the tailor, and he would be able to claim that he purchased it, the tailor is given the opportunity of taking an oath while holding a sacred object and collecting the amount he claims. He may claim up to the amount of the article's worth as his wage. Once the garment has departed from his possession, or in a situation when we would not presume that he is the owner and he cannot claim that he purchased the garment, we follow the principle: "A person who wishes to expropriate money from a colleague must prove his claim." If he does not bring proof of his claim, the owner of the garment is required to take a sh'vuat hesset if he denies owing the tailor anything more than he paid him or a Scriptural oath if he admits a portion of the tailor's claim, as is the law with regard to other claims. Such a situation is not governed by the special leniencies granted with regard to the laws applying to a worker.

ח

הַנּוֹתֵן טַלִּיתוֹ לְאֻמָּן אֻמָּן אוֹמֵר שְׁנַיִם קָצַצְתָּ לִי וְהַלָּה אוֹמֵר לֹא קָצַצְתִּי אֶלָּא אֶחָד כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהַטַּלִּית בְּיַד הָאֻמָּן אִם יָכוֹל לִטְעֹן שֶׁהִיא לְקוּחָה בְּיָדוֹ הֲרֵי הָאֻמָּן נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְנוֹטֵל. וְיָכוֹל לִטְעֹן שֶׁהִיא בִּשְׂכָרוֹ עַד כְּדֵי דָּמֶיהָ. וְאִם יָצָאת טַלִּית מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ אוֹ שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בָּהּ חֲזָקָה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִטְעֹן שֶׁהִיא לְקוּחָה בְּיָדוֹ הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה יִשָּׁבַע בַּעַל הַטַּלִּית הֶסֵּת אוֹ שְׁבוּעַת הַתּוֹרָה אִם הוֹדָה בְּמִקְצָת כְּדִין כָּל הַטְּעָנוֹת. שֶׁאֵין זֶה כְּדִין הַשָּׂכִיר:

9

When a worker comes to take an oath, we do not deal severely with him, nor is he required to take an oath with regard to other claims based on the principle of gilgul sh'vuah. Instead, he takes an oath that he did not receive payment and collects his due.

We are not lenient with any other people who come to take oaths, with the exception of a worker. In his case, we are lenient and invite him to take the oath, saying: "Do not cause yourself exasperation. Take the oath and collect your due."

Even when his wage is only a p'rutah, if the owner claims to have paid him already, he should collect it only after taking an oath. Similarly, whenever a person takes an oath and collects his due, even if the claim is only one p'rutah, he may not collect it unless he takes an oath resembling one required by Scriptural Law.

ט

שָׂכִיר הַבָּא לְהִשָּׁבַע אֵין מַחֲמִירִין עָלָיו וְאֵין מְגַלְגְּלִין עָלָיו כְּלָל אֶלָּא נִשְׁבָּע שֶׁלֹּא נָטַל וְיִטּל. וּלְכָל הַנִּשְׁבָּעִין אֵין מְקִלִּין חוּץ מִן הַשָּׂכִיר שֶׁמְּקִלִּין עָלָיו וּפוֹתְחִין לוֹ תְּחִלָּה וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ אַל תְּצַעֵר עַצְמְךָ הִשָּׁבַע וְטל. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה שְׂכָרוֹ פְּרוּטָה אַחַת וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת אוֹמֵר נְתַתִּיהָ לֹא יִטּל אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבוּעָה. וְכֵן כָּל הַנִּשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל אֲפִלּוּ לֹא יִטְעֹן אֶלָּא פְּרוּטָה אַחַת לֹא יִטּל אוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבוּעָה כְּעֵין שֶׁל תּוֹרָה: