Saturday, November 25, 2006

Caring for the Poor (17) - Bonded Service

The bonded employment option is only used for really serious poverty. Sometimes a person will have a financial problem that is two serious to be dealt with by an interest free. This is most like to occur where a person has to make restitution for a crime and has no credit record to justify the loan and no family member willing to act as guarantor to a lender.

The poor person will bond themselves to an employer for up to seven years in return for a lump-sum advance in wages.

If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free (Deut 15:12).
The length of the loan will depend on the amount advanced and the productive capacity of the person receiving the loan. During the time that the person is bonded, they will not be able change employers or move to a different place of residence. The employer would give them enough to pay for food and shelter, but the rest of what they earn would go towards paying back the loan.

The employer making the loan is running quite a risk, because they would not know how useful their employee will be. He may end up advancing more wages than he can recoup within seven years, especially if he is generous. There is also a risk that the bonded employee might abscond.

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