There are no less than six Torah commandments that deal with paying a worker
his wages. Three prohibit the employee from refusing to pay the worker at
all. The other three direct us not to delay paying him after he finishes
his work. These are the Torah sources of these mitzvos.
“You shall not cheat your fellow.”
“Do not steal.”
“Do not keep a worker’s wage with you overnight until morning.”
“Do not cheat a poor or destitute hired person among your brothers.”
“You must pay him on that day.”
“The sun shall not set upon him.”
It should be noted that the mitzvos that command us to pay on time, only
apply the first time that the employer is obligated to pay the worker. If
he is exempt from paying on time, then the Torah prohibitions to not pay
on time no longer apply. Therefore, the employer does not continuously
transgress these mitzvos all the time that he does not pay the employer.
However, there is a Rabbinical prohibition to withhold payment when
In the coming weeks we will discuss the details of these Mitzvos.
1.Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of Other
People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.
8.Examples of exemptions will be discussed in the coming weeks.