Saturday, February 02, 2013

Economic Life (8) Employment

People employed to do work are to be treated well.

Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin (Deut 24:14-15).
A person who needs to work for wages must be treated well. This applies to people living in the neighbourhood and foreigners who are there temporarily. When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, he was illustrating this principle. Neighbours are not just those who live around you. The foreigner that is encountered is also a neighbour.

A critical part of being a good neighbours is to pay generous wages. God’s people should not be satisfied with paying the minimum wage. God expects more than that. They should pay the person enough for them to live on.

The employer should not just think about their convenience. They must do what is best for the employee. If the person is really poor, they would not be able to wait until the end of the week for their money, because they would be without food. Even though it is inconvenient for the employer, the poor person should be paid each day. They have done the work, so they are entitled to the pay. In the modern world, weekly or fortnightly pay has become the standard, but that makes life really hard for some people.
Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight (Lev 19:13).
God’s guidance for economic life says that holding back the wages of a hired worker overnight is the same as defrauding them.

The requirement of this command is more general, as it is an aspect of loving neighbours. An employer must treat their employees in the same way as they would treat someone they love. They cannot just pay the minimum they can get away with and leave their employees to fend for themselves. They must treat their employees the same way as they would treat their family members. Employees should be paid promptly and generously.

Employees are not disconnected people. They are neighbours that employers must love and care for.

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