My question is as follows:
I am making a website that will let people upload images for editing and my workers located in China will work on it and send it to the customer once complete.
The website will automatically charge credit cards of the client. This website is working 24/hours a day, and I always have workers online.
My question is what to do regarding Shabbos?
Can I leave it open, so I have a reputation for the customer that I am always open, if I pay all the profit to the worker and I am not earning on that, or do I need to close it on Shabbos? Is there anything else that I should do?
Thank you in advance.
The best option will be to pay the non-Jewish workers on a commission basis for their work on Shabbos (this can also be by means of bonuses for their sales on Shabbos). If this is done, it is permitted to have them work on Shabbos, even if you will be making a profit.
A non-Jew may do labor for a Jew on Shabbos if he does so for his own purposes. This can be achieved by ensuring that the non-Jew is paid by commission (as opposed to per time). Even if the Jew benefits directly from the action, the non-Jew is working for his wages, and therefore no prohibition is involved (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 243:1-2).
This is specifically true where the Jew is not telling the non-Jew to work especially on Shabbos (307:4). In this case, the Jew is not giving specific instructions to work on Shabbos, but rather the work depends on when people make orders – timing that is unrelated to the day of the week.
There is no concern in this case for maris ayin, because the site is not publicized as under Jewish ownership, and there is likewise no concern for lifnei iver because we can assume that the people who use the site are not Jewish.
For sources on the general question of keeping a website open on Shabbos, please see here.