Shabbat Parashat Balak | 5768
A Look Back at the Last Year’s Piskei Din part III
(based on Halacha Psuka, vol. 45)
Payment for Linkage to the CPI and Lost Income
It is accepted practice in batei din that damage payments are not linked to the CPI (inflation rate). However, when a negligent worker causes his employer to lose profits, he is required to compensate for these losses. Under such circumstances, even if it involves a case of one who deals in financial matters, such as a person who is supposed to invest someone’s money, the calculations will include linkage and interest.
Ribbit for Late Payment
There is a machloket among the poskim if governmental agencies are allowed to obligate those who pay late penalty interest payments and to collect them.
Abrogation of a Work Contract by the Employer
One who hired a worker and backed out is considered to lack trustworthiness (mechusar amanah). If the abrogation causes the worker losses (in wages), the employer has to compensate the loss unless the change in plans was due to extenuating circumstances. When plans were changed because the work turned out to be economically not worthwhile, it is not considered mechusar amanah to cancel the related workers. However, when the change causes the worker losses, the employer still has to compensate.
The calculation of losses takes into account the fact that when the work ceases and the worker does not replace it with other work, he has vacation. He is therefore paid as a po’el batel (an idle worker). In other words, we reduce from the salary due the amount of money one would pay to have vacation. In this regard, there is a machloket between recent poskim whether we look at the particulars of a case where one would not be as interested in vacation as the average person (e.g., if he is in great need for money or other reasons).
Abrogation of the Agreement by the Worker
A worker for a set time can quit in the midst of the period. However, if this causes the employer to employ other workers to prevent losses, the employer can deduct those expenses from the accumulated partial wages due to the worker who quit prematurely.
Estimating Work Whose Value Was Not Discussed in Advance
When there was no discussion of salary before work commenced, the worker is paid according to the lowest level on the market. However, when there was an ongoing work relationship between the two, we estimate the work in light of the prevailing standard of pay.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of
Max and Mary Sutker
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.