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Bal Talin – Paying Wages On Time – part 3: Non Direct Employer

Hiring through a Third Party

  • If the employer hired a worker via a third party, ((Bava Metzia 110b.)) even if that person is also an employee, ((Nesiv Hachesed 10:8.)) and the worker was told that the employer will pay him, ((Bava Metzia 111a.)) neither the employer, ((Rashi explains that the worker is not regarded as being employed by the employer. According to the Rid, the worker does not expect to be paid on time if the employer did not hire him personally.)) or the third party transgress the prohibition of bal talin. Similarly, neither of them transgresses the mitzvah of paying on time. ((Piskei Ri’az Bava Metzia 9:6:8.))
  • Even if the employer pays on time, he does not fulfill the mitzvah of paying on time. ((Based on Shut Rav Pe’alim 4:7.))
  • It is advisable to hire workers through a third party, in order to avoid the issur of bal talin. ((Bava Metzia 111a, Graz (she’elah vesechirus) 18.))
  • Nevertheless, the employer will transgress a rabbinical prohibition if he is able to pay on time but does not do so. ((Shut Rav Pe’alim ibid. See also Section One footnote 7.))
  • If the third party made no mention of an employer and the worker assumes that the person hiring him is responsible to pay him, the third party will transgress bal talin if he does not pay on time. ((Rosh quoted by the Tur 339 and Shulchan Aruch 339:7.))
  • According to some opinions, if the employer told the third party to hire a specific worker for a specific amount, the employer will transgress bal talin. However, if the third party was given a general instruction to hire a worker, there will be no issur of bal talin. ((Shut Teshuras Shay Tinyana 86.))
  • According to some opinions, if the third party hired the worker in the presence of the employer, the employer could transgress bal talin. ((Chelkas Yaakov Even Ha’ezer 1:30 based on the explanation of Rashi. According to Halichos Yisroel, the Rid would agree to this also.))
  • According to some opinions, if the third party was sent to hire a worker and the appointment was confirmed, ((This confirmation is done with a kinyan, e.g. the third party lifted up an item belonging to the worker.)) the employer could transgress bal talin. ((Based on Shut Teshuras Shay and Chelkas Yaakov ibid.))
  • If an employer hired a worker over the phone or through written correspondence, it is tantamount to hiring him face-to-face and he could transgress bal talin. ((Minchas Shlomo 1:78.))
  • When ordering a cab from a dispatcher, the dispatcher is not regarded as a third party. Since the employment only begins when the payment has been agreed, it is regarded as if the driver was ordered directly and bal talin would apply. ((Heard from R’ Naftali Nussbaum.))
  • When a store employs a delivery service, the person who ordered the product does not transgress bal talin if he does not pay the deliverer on time. Although the payment and time of delivery were agreed between the client and the delivery service, the delivery service works for the store and is responsible to it. ((Ibid.))
  • If a person made an appointment with a doctor through a medical secretary, bal talin will apply if the doctor is not paid on time.
  • If a worker asks a third party ((Such as an employment agency.)) to find him employment by an individual or in a company, and the third party negotiates the terms and conditions of the employment, the employer will transgress bal talin if he does not pay on time. ((Gidulei Shmuel Bava Metzia 110b, R’ Naftali Nussbaum. This is in contrast to a case where the employer hires a worker via a third party.))

Corporations and Organizations

  • Opinions differ whether a treasurer of a charitable organization will transgress bal talin if he does not pay on time. ((On one hand, the worker expects to be paid by the treasurer who hired him (Ahavas Chesed 10:4). On the other hand, the treasurer hired the worker on behalf of the organization, and were he to leave his position, he would have no personal obligation to pay the worker (Shut Mishnas R’ Aharon 2:73).)) The same dispute applies ((Pischei Choshen chapter 9 note 66, Mishpat Hapo’alim 30:68.)) to a manager or CEO of a limited company who has the responsibility to hire and dismiss workers. ((If a manager only represents the board, he would have the status of a third party (see Section Three) and will not transgress bal talin (Birur Halacha page 629).))
  • The neighbor responsible for the building (vaad bayit) falls into the same category. Even if the reason that the worker was not paid was because the neighbors did not pay their dues, they do not transgress bal talin.
  • The status of a married housewife regarding bal talin will depend:
    • If she hires help to assist her with her own responsibilities, such as a cleaner or baby sitter, she transgresses bal talin if she does not pay on time. ((See Section One point 4 for an exception.))
    • If she hires a worker who benefits the whole family, the above dispute will apply, e.g. a plumber for a blockage, washing repair man. ((Ahavas Chesed 10:2.))
    • If she hires workers to carry out a large job, e.g. renovations, and it is understood that her husband will pay for it, she does not transgress bal talin. It is unclear whether her husband will transgress bal talin. ((Do we say that she is an extension of her husband (ishto kegufo), or is she simply a third party (Nesiv Hachesed 10:10). See also Aruch Hashulchan 339:9.))
  • A rosh kollel who is responsible to accept avreichim into a kollel but is not responsible to pay them does not transgress bal talin. ((Mishpat Hapo’alim 30:68.)) The financial manager of the kollel also does not transgress the issur. ((Since a third party – the rosh kollel – hired the avreichim on his behalf (see Section Three).))

Volunteered Services

  • A worker who performed work without being asked must be paid by the person who benefited from it. ((Choshen Mishpat 375.)) However, the benefactor does not transgress bal talin if he does not pay on time. ((Pischei Teshuva Choshen Mishpat 89:2. See also Halichos Yisroel.)) For example, a shadchan or estate agent who made a suggestion without being asked. ((See Haghos Mordechai quoted in the Bi’ur Hagra 87:117.))
  • If a shadchan made a suggestion without being asked, and the parties requested him to continue to develop the shidduch, bal talin will apply only to the completion ((It is accepted that the person who suggests a shidduch receives a certain payment, and the person who completes it receives a different payment.)) that he was asked to do. ((This is in contrast to a worker who was hired by a third party, when even if the employer asks the worker to perform other jobs, there will never be an issur of bal talin, since the original hiring was made through a third party.))
  • Parents who asked a shadchan to find a shidduch for their child transgress the issur of bal talin if they do not pay on time. ((Halichos Yisroel 2.))

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