1,220. The Employee’s Obligation

185:5 If a worker did his job for the homeowner but then it became ruined – even through his own negligence – so that the worker is legally responsible to make things right, it is a mitzvah for the homeowner to go beyond the letter of the law and forgive him, as per Proverbs 2:20, “So that you may walk in the way of the good.” If the worker is needy and doesn’t have anything to eat, it is a mitzvah to pay him, as the verse continues, “And follow the path of the righteous.” This is the path of the righteous: to keep to the way of G-d, to do charity and justice, beyond the letter of the law.

185:6 Just as an employer is warned not to withhold his worker’s wages and not to delay payment, the worker is warned not to neglect the employer’s work. He is obligated to work diligently as the Patriarch Jacob said (Genesis 31:6), “I worked for your father with all my might.” Therefore, the worker is not permitted to work at night and hire himself out for the day because he will be weakened from his night work. Similarly, one may not work his animal by night and hire it out during the day. A worker may not starve or afflict himself because this will sap his strength and he won’t be able to do the employer’s work properly. This is also the law for a teacher, as we saw in 165:12.