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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Can You Help?

My friend Esther has posted her suggestions to help answer to my question number 5 of the post Debt, Tithing, and Bankruptcy.

In the comments section of my last post, Ayelet brings up an unfortunately problem that seems to plague the frum community in response to question number 2: non-payment for teaching in Yeshiva, which I can't imagine is anything but assur. Somehow I'm always shocked by these stories, but have no idea why because I've heard way too many of these stories. Unfortunately, I personally know a number of people (and I don't know the affairs of that many people!) who have sat in the same boat or are sitting there currently. She writes:

"Number 2 - good question! I'm still trying to get salary owed to my
husband for teaching in a yeshivah - 5 years ago! Is this even muttar l'halacha?
When I think of the interest I have been losing and the tax (at a higher bracket
than I was then) I will have to pay, I shudder. I have a feeling there are
plenty of yeshiva that are 'behind' on payroll. "

I can't think of a more "Orthonomic" issue than this one. However, I don't believe I am qualified to write a post on the issue. So, I would welcome a guest post on any aspect of this issue and am happy to ensure confidentiality as I have done for other guest posters on other issues.

Hoping to see more comments. I'm glad to be back.


themarykaygal said...

Sadly, it's one of the reasons my husband is very happy teaching in a non Orthodox day school. They absolutely ALWAYS do payroll on time. It's simply unprofessional otherwise. What's happening to all the $$$$$ in the payroll budget line if it's not going towards uh.... payroll? What? Many Orthodox day schools don't have a formal budgeting process? Ack (tears hair out). Big pet peeve of mine.

We know a guy who teaches science at a frum school. He got paid 4 months late. Took the case to beis din and lost because he's not a Rabbi. The Rabbi he went up against automatically won because well--- HE'S a Rabbi. bleah!

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the practice but let's face it are we ready to shell out even more tuition dollars so that the schools can hire proffesional management?

I don't know the Halacha involved but at this point since it is such an accepted practice maybe it's an automatic overriding condition of employment.

As well, unfortunately enough people get way behind on their payments even after recieving a generous scholarship forcing the school to either lose out entirely or to make a deal to collect pennies on the dollar. Shall we start throwing kids out of school when their parents fall behind on their tuition payments?

Is the staff enabling this behaviour thru their selfless dedication? There are labor laws in this country let teachers fight for their rights. If they don't get paid let them sue or walk right away - What would happen next?

if others step in to replace them then obviously they agree to working on such terms

if others don't step in then either
A. the school gets it's act together
or B. it shuts down and a properly functioning school replaces it.

I believe what would end up happening is that the school would be able to find replacements who are less & less qulified leading to a situation where parents are pulling their kids out and placing them elsewhere. At that point once again the school will either get it's act together or shut down.

Ezzie said...

Sadly, non-payment is all too common. It's often not because they're unorganized, though - sometimes, they simply can't afford to pay. I think a lot of this comes back to the same problem - schools need to start running themselves as seriously as businesses, cutting unnecessary costs and the like, and perhaps that would ensure that they do have enough money to pay. But this not paying on time hurts everybody.

Esther said...

As mentioned on my blog, I believe the number one issue is rabbis giving appropriate advice to newly married couples. And often the husband is "advised" (i.e. told) to go into chinuch. So if we "accept" the known concept that yeshivas pay late, how could it possibly be acceptable guidance to a person who needs parnassa to tell them to teach at one of these schools? And fo the few people who havne't heard this before, i am speaking from personal experience. My husband said that we NEEDED the parnassa, was offered a teaching job (which he actually put effort into) and then was paid late. Then late became $3000 we were told he "just couldn't pay". Aside from all of the other issues with this (including the yeshiva and my husband's rbbi who gave us the bad advice in the first place telling us that we had no recourse) - he knew FROM THE BEGINNING that my husband was not teaching as a chesed but for parnassa.

Ayelet said...

I should add that, in my husband's current position as an llth grade rebbe in a Brooklyn yeshiva, his salary has always been regular and timely. I'm quite confident that this current situation of his is not the norm.

When I bring up my frustration about the financial state of affairs of many yeshivas, my husband often responds that it's a good sign. When things are going to easily, one wonders why the satan is not trying to interfere. (I must admit that I am always tempted to, and sometimes do, roll my eyes in response to that.) But there is something to what he says....

Ayelet said...

going too easily **grimace** I can't believe I let that slip!

Ariella said...

Not only yeshivas do that. When I taught Touro classes in the summer, they didn't pay according the schedule in the contract. Instead, they paid the whole amount months late. That made the salary subject to nearly 50% withholding, which prevented me from making full use of the money that I had earned. They pooh poohed my concern with, "You'll get it back in your tax refund." Right, but I would have to wait months more for that. So if I needed that money to cover rent, etc., then I would have had to have taken a loan, for which I would have had to pay interest until I would get my tax refund. There would be no reimbursement for the interest payments or the cost of loss of use of the money for so many months.

Ayelet said...

Ariella: Wow. I'm pretty surprised to hear that. Real shame.

OrthoMonkey said...

If I remember correct there are a lot of Halacha's dealing with paying a worker and how important it is to pay on time. I am by no means a scholar in this area so if some one knows more please do tell.

My concern with this matter is that these institutions are supposed to teach my children about ethics and from what is being said here they have a standard practice which is totally against halacha. This seems a bit troubling...

Lakewood Venter said...

Tough questions you pose!

Anonymous said...

I would think this is incredibly obvious:
Leviticus 19:13

"You shall not oppress your fellow man nor rob him; you shall not let a hired man's wages abide with you until morning."

"Lo salin pe'ulas sachir eetcha ad boker."

Is there a hetter against a mitzva written explicitly in Chumash?!