Jerusalem – Psak Halacha: Must Pay Wages Despite the War

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    Ashdod schools empty as students were relocated to different cities as rocket continue to rain inJerusalem – The rav of Chassidei Gur in Ashdod, Rav Gross, has ruled that one is not exempt from paying teachers and caretakers because one has left the city due to the war.

    Rav Shmuel David Hakohen Gross said that he had received a number of questions concerning payment to kindergarten teachers and morning babysitters.

    His ruling which was publicized said:

    “I was asked if those who left Ashdod will have to pay the wages of their teachers, kindergarten teachers or babysitters, especially since they are now paying for these services in the places they are now residing and don’t want to pay twice. Even though different details may affect the ruling, in general it appears that in many cases, they are obligated to pay at least part of the amount. One should not assume that they won’t have to pay.”

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    21 COMMENTS

      • Why did they even bother seeking guidance from the rebbe…this is a matter of common sense and fairness to the teachers and care-providers. If someone wants to seek a safer location from the missiles that is their choice but they should not deny compensation to people who depend on their salary and were willing to stay and do their jobs.

          • Sorry, but even in eretz yisroel, there is civil law which trumps halacha in commercial matters. This is not Iran where shaira (Islamic law) is also the equivilant of civil law. While Yidden in eretz yisrel who have a dispute may voluntarily agree to subject themselves to the decision of a rabbinical court or the guidance from a rebbe they both respect (and is possible that this rebbe has such respect among some of his followers), his guidance is certainly not binding on those who are not among his followers or even those who are. Having said that, a commercial court would likely not find any obligation to pay absent a formal contract but from a purely ethical perspective, its clearly the right thing to do.

            • In Eretz Yisroel and all over the world, there is the Jewish version of sharia…. it is called Halacha and the Shulchan Aruch.
              AND… we ARE bound to obey halachos as paskinned by the rabbonim of the generation…. even when they are stricter than civil law.

              Civil Law is for the goyim and the non-observant. Any Observant Jew MUST obey the rabbonim!

            • sorry you do have to listen to the rabbonim and it is ussar to go to the secular courts and we know what it says about people who go to secular court and even if you would go you proably wouldnt have to listen and if you take money based on a secular judge you are a ganav

            • We only have to accept the Psak din of those ravs who are known and respected as gedolim…if, for example, I am a follower of the Rav from Minsk, I don’t have to comply with a din torah issued by the Rav from Pinsk….I really don’t know much about the guy who issued this ruling although it seems both morally and halachally correct

    1. Who is paying the salaries of all the men who are out fighting? These people should be paid for running away? Maybe they can fill in the jobs left behind by the soldiers especially jobs without salaries ? Perhaps keep their stores open etc? Perhaps learn with their children or take their sons to shul on shabbos.

      • Most employers in eretz yisroel pay regular salaries when people are called up for reserve duty at least for the first 60-90 days…the law differs on how certain types of employees are treated over the long term…some pay only the difference between military salary and regular wages….

    2. besides halacha:
      When we employ someone, we have a moral responsibility towards them and their family. We should never hire someone and let them believe it is a long-term job, while in our minds it is just temporary
      We should never hire someone without realizing that their financial decisions and family financial well being will be dependent on getting paid from us.

      I used to have 175 employees in a very seasonal business. I used to sit them down and explain this in detail at the time of hiring, and tell them that only a small fraction will have their jobs between December 1 and March 1. My business was dead during those 2 months. I kept only a skeleton crew, and paid them to “clean and recondition” the equipment, etc., during those 2 months.

      Then, during March and April, I would hire back very slowlly, until by June I was back up to 175 or more.

      But, what I did was hold back 1/4 of their pay from every week’s pay, and gave it to them in one lump sum at the time of layoff. This I called a bonus, and was not part of the officially agreed on salary. This way they had money to tide themselves over during the 60 – 120 days they would be without work. Plus they did know in advance.

      When you stop a person’s paycheck suddenly, whether it is your fault or not, you are putting them in the risk of losing their homes, cars, insurance, etc.,
      It is a responsibility.

      And, though I can understand the people complaining they may have to pay two people, one at their temporary location, plus their original person, I can understand the Rov’s decision.

      It is the right thing to do, even when it hurts.
      Remember, having employees is a responsibility, it is not just like renting a car.

    3. This Rov was not making a fuzzy moral statement (i hope). This is a Psak Halocho. However, I disagree with him. This is an oiness delo shechiach (except maybe in Sderot). If the babysitter ran away she would not be liable to compensate her clients.

    4. “Remember, having employees is a responsibility, it is not just like renting a car.”

      Why is it not like renting a car? Does the car owner not also expect an income from it? Does the supermarket not depend on sales that are now not happening because people have fled north? Perhaps the teachers and babysitters and car rental places and supermarkets in the north, who have profited by the influx of refugees, should pay a commission to those in the south who have lost! Where does it end?

      When you buy anything, whether goods or services, it is a commercial transaction, and you’re not obligated to keep on buying unless you signed a contract saying so, and even that can be broken by force majeure. You are not an eved to the supplier, whether of the good or the service, and are not obligated to keep on buying from him; if you no longer need what he is supplying, or you find a better deal with someone else, you are free to go, JUST AS HE IS FREE TO FIND ANOTHER CUSTOMER.

      • I suspect you would litigate with your totta and zaida given half a chance…these are generally not rich people who depend on these jobs for their parnasa…what kind of idiot would withhold their paychecks because he/she decided to run to Tel Aviv while the war was ongoing??

      • I prefaced what I said by saying I was not talking about LAW, I was talking about doing the right thing, I was talking about responsibility.

        And the rental car company expects many cars to be kept longer than contracted for, and adds in the fee for that extra, and that some will be returned earlier than rented for.

        This is not the same as a kindergarten teacher who is barely surviving on his/her salary. Missing a couple of pay checks can destroy a person living on the financial edge.

        When you make a decision to employ someone, you have MORAL obligations towards them.

        Many times an employer finds he has an employee whose services he no longer needs. But one does not fire that employee immediately. First of all, one TRIES to wait for a busy time of the year when the employee can more easily find other employment. A kind person never lets a regular employee go during a very slow time, as it is very hard to find work…. unless the employee knows it is seasonal work. Also, if the employee did no wrong, and you are letting him/her go because of your business needs, one TRIES to find the person other employment.

        This may not be halacha.
        This may not be the law.
        But this is the morally correct thing to do.

      • First, its not clear that the rabbi mentioned in this story has the stature to warrant such blind obedience, even among the observant. Second, even for a heilege yid such as yourself, it would be perfectly ok to continue payments to such individuals as a matter of compassion and ethics, even if this Rabbi was to rule that under halacha there was no obligation requiring such payment if the family had fled Ashdod for safer ground. Third, and most important, the rabbi here provided the “right” answer, both according to halacha and ethically so the issue is moot.

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