Paying Wages on Time: Cash, Credit Card or Check

Paying Wages on Time: Cash, Credit Card or Check

An employer is obligated to pay a worker the same day—or, for the long-term employee, according to an agreed upon payment schedule—by both positive and negative Torah command: “B’yomo titein secharo (pay wages the same day) and “Lo salin” (do not delay payment overnight).

Must I pay with cash? Checks and credit cards are also an acceptable form of payment, if it’s a common practice in that particular locale. This only applies to situations where checks are expected—paying a taxi driver via check, for example, would not be considered suitable. 

Some poskim (halachic authorities) limit paying with a check to business hours—while banks are open; if the worker has to wait to cash the check until the next day, it may not be considered timely payment. 

A bounced check violates “lo salin”, since payment to the worker is delayed. 

A post-dated check—and likewise a payment plan over a period of time—is acceptable payment if it was agreed upon in advance.

In the case of cash, payment is restricted to common legal tender, unless it is local custom to use certain foreign currency.

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.