Slavery in NY School?

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  • #1742375

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    An Orthodox Jewish school in NYC changed their payment format for the school year 5779. In the past, (the hourly) wages were paid over 10 months, this year the same amount was divided over 12 months with a new requirement to work for either 2 or 4 weeks during July & August with no additional pay! Is this called slavery or stam theft? Is it mutar to complain to the government?
    What do the esteemed Chachomim (& Chachomos) of the CR hold?

    #1742386

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    If they are hourly wages, they’ll get paid more for more hours.

    Even a pay cut isn’t slavery. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to treat staff that way, but how is this a government issue?

    #1742385

    Joseph
    Participant

    I don’t see how anything is wrong with the change. If the employee(s) doesn’t agree or like the change, he can quit the job.

    #1742389

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    DY; They are paying the hourly wages of the 10 months of Sep thru June divided by 12 over the 12 months Sep thru Aug. They are not paying extra for the 2 or 4 weeks required work in July or August.

    #1742393

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Make up your mind. Is it an hourly rate or an annual rate? If it’s an hourly rate how can it be divided over months? Obviously it accrues when the hours are worked. If it’s an annual rate then it makes sense that they’re now dividing it over a longer period, and demanding more hours worked, and thus paying less than they used to per hour. So what? Since when is a business not allowed to cut wages?

    #1742387

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Can they sell the staff members to other people?

    #1742433

    klugeryid
    Participant

    Millhouse
    Why so hard to understand?
    Let me preface, I have no knowledge of what uncle Ben is talking about, but what his post is saying is
    Formerly the school said, you work 5 hours a day times 5 days a week times 38 weeks = 950 hours.
    We will pay you 55000$
    So it’s about 56$ an hour.
    So they get a pay stub listing 56$ an hour.
    Now they tell the teachers,
    We are going to be paying out your 55000 over twelve moths so instead of 56$ an hour it’s going to say 42$ an hour.
    No big deal it’s the same 55000$ a year.
    Oh but by the way you will need to work two weeks in the summer to keep your job.
    And guess what? The teacher can’t make any official complaint because there will be a pay stub for those weeks.

    I HAVE NO IDEA IF ANY OF THE ABOVE IS FACT. I’M JUST EXPLAINING HIS POST CAUSE MILLHOUSE WAS FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND

    #1742403

    Avi K
    Participant

    RY, if sports teams can why not schools?

    #1742446

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “We are going to be paying out your 55000 over twelve moths so instead of 56$ an hour it’s going to say 42$ an hour.
    No big deal it’s the same 55000$ a year.”

    No that isnt right if 55,000 is split over 12 months or 10 months it is the same 56 an hour.

    You throw in as an afterthought, (as the op did which is what made it hard to understand) “Oh but by the way you will need to work two weeks in the summer to keep your job.”
    But that isnt an afterthought at all, THAT is the only change. the change 10 months to 12 months isnt really a change, this line: “In the past, (the hourly) wages were paid over 10 months, this year the same amount was divided over 12 months” is hard to understand.

    UB
    “Is this called slavery or stam theft?”
    Neither, it is called a pay cut. While upsetting, I’m not sure why you would think the Government would care

    #1742443

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Many (if not all) of these employees are earning minimum wage so by requiring these extra hours they are forcing them to work for below the minimum wage under threat of losing their jobs if they don’t like it.
    I believe they are doing this because they had a problem with a lack of employees in the summer.

    #1742444

    Sam Klein
    Participant

    Don’t complain about this issue cause tons of schools pay their teachers their yearly total over much longer time due to financial issues and are low in money leaving rebbes and teachers months behind getting paid what their owed for where they are holding at the current date of the year

    #1742459

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    As long as the wages are above minimum wages, It legal (It might be very bad employee relations though)

    If this had happend to me, I would be looking for another job

    #1742457

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Klugeryid, if you’re on salary, your pay stub probably doesn’t list hours or an hourly rate.

    I’ve never hear of an Orthodox Jewish school having school in July or August.

    #1742520

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Klugeryid, what you describe is not an hourly rate, it’s an annual salary. A $55K salary for 950 hours worked comes to $57.89 an hour, but that’s not the rate, it’s just what it happens to come to. The pay stub is unlikely to mention hours at all, because they’re not being paid by the hour. If the school is now demanding more work for the same pay, so what?

    Alternatively, they may be paid by the hour, and the school has just told them that next year the rate will be cut, so that they will have to work more hours to earn the same amount they did last year. Again, so what? So long as they’re free to quit it’s not slavery, and so long as this takes effect only after the announcement, not retroactively to hours already worked, it’s not theft.

    #1742654

    Joseph
    Participant

    “I’ve never hear of an Orthodox Jewish school having school in July or August.”

    Lakewood yeshivos are open and in session for 11 months, including July.

    #1754996

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Sorry for the delay in responding.
    The employees I’m referring to are paid minimum wage. Therefore by requiring an extra 2 or 4 weeks of work in the summer, (yes they are open with a day camp & child care in the summer) with no additional pay they are forcing the employees to either work for those 2 or 4 weeks unpaid or are paying below the minimum wage the rest if the year.
    Maybe slavery is an overly harsh description but it is clearly wrong.
    What options do the employees have?
    Is it mesirah to report the school to the government?
    If individual employees complain they risk not being rehired for next year.

    #1755454

    Grey matter
    Participant

    Maybe they can get a third party involved(rov or askan). He can threaten to publicize or report it (doesn’t necessarily mean he should actually carry through)

    #1755127

    Joseph
    Participant

    Of course it is mesira. That’s like asking whether chazer is treif.

    And there’s nothing wrong with an employer changing future terms of employment, in any event.

    #1755249

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    There are fair labor standards laws in most states that govern payment for overtime etc. for different types of employees so the answer will be very fact-dependent. For most hourly, minimum-wage, non-managerial employees (as distinct from administrative staff, teachers who are generally on annual salaries) you cannot ask employees to work additional time “off the clock” to avoid having to pay them for their work. It gets more complicated if you modify their weekly average hours (e.g. go from a 40 hour average for a 10 month year to a lower average for a 12 month year). However, if the change in required hours reduces the effective hourly rate below minimum wage, that would be illegal in most jurisdictions. These workers are not on contract so a reduction in hour wages per se is not illegal and they can leave for another job if they don’t want to work at a lower hourly wage or don’t want to work in the summer months.

    #1755562

    MrSarahLevine613
    Participant

    The Devil is in the details. Are these employees “at will” or “contractual”? With an at will employee you can change the deal “going forward” just not retroactively. If there is a contract for a set amount of time, of course, if you change the terms that is a breach. In fact, it is unclear to me when the OP writes that “[a]n Orthodox Jewish school in NYC changed their payment format for the school year 5779” whether the OP is talking about 2018-19 or 2019-20. My GUESS — and admittedly it is not what the OP wrote, is that there were two changes. First, that payment is now made over 12 months instead of 10. I have heard schools do both. There are pro and cons. Second, they are requiring some “in service” time in the summer. The school is basically saying you are a 12 month employee — not just 10. I think this is all fair — as long as the deal wasnt changed midstream.

    #1755873

    Amil Zola
    Participant

    Slavery is a bit of hyperbole is it not? Slaves were owned, they had no choice at the work they did, where they lived who they married. Perhaps the better title would have been ‘Labor violation or not?’. Carry on.

    #1755867

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Uncle Ben, make up your mind, once and for all. Are these people you’re talking about paid by the hour or are they paid a salary? If they are paid a salary then the hours are irrelevant. THERE IS NO MINIMUM HOURLY RATE for salaried employees. So long as they’re making the federal minimum of $23,660 a year (and I’m quite sure they are) they have to put in as many hours as the work takes. If that means they end up with not very much per hour, that’s their tough luck. If they don’t like it they’re free to quit.

    #1756007

    eman
    Participant

    Why don’t you raise this question to the Business Halacha Institute and have a Choshen Mishpat expert answer this question.

    #1756049

    lakewhut
    Participant

    Their a non for profit. If They can get donations that people use to get tax deductions, it’s also fair to report them for unfair practices. Now, some rabbonim will bully you if you report them. The court for hire beit din will be biased towards the yeshivas side. I Know how this game works.

    #1756052

    lakewhut
    Participant

    Amil, there are employers who treat tbeir workers as slave.

    #1756075

    NathanZook
    Participant

    The details, as I understand them, are that employees currently working for nine months of the year for minimum wage, have been told that 1) their wage will be paid over a twelve month period, and 2) that they will be required to work addition hours at no additional pay.

    If so, this will violate at least two laws of the State. The next question is: what to do?

    Get in touch with your beit din. It is a hillul hashem to learn justice from gentiles, so outside of violent crimes, which involve pikuach nefesh, we must be very careful how to proceed. I have seen tremendous ahavat Israel from these men, who are known for their Torah insight. If you are concerned that the beit din is small, and that a member of the school board is on the beit din, go to a neighboring beit din, ask for help, and do what they say. These men have true wisdom.

    #1756112

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Milhouse; Not sure I follow you. The minimum wage in NYC for an employer with over 10 employees is $15 an hour. Are you saying that if an employer pays a “salary” he is somehow exempt from the NYS minimum wage law?
    The contract only lists a monthly wage, with a note to “see the director for your summer hours”.
    The amount of the monthly check when multiplied by 12 and divided by # of hours worked over 10 months equals the $15 minimum wage. Therefore the extra 2 or 4 weeks of full time work are either not being paid for or the regular wage is pushed below minimum which is seemingly illegal.
    For full timers there, it’s about 31 hours a week equaling a ten month salary of $20,134.50 which is below the federal minimum you site.
    Now what?

    #1756247

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Uncle Ben, you keep deliberately mixing up salaries and wages. A monthly rate is not a wage, it is a salary. Since you say their contract does not specify an hourly wage, but a monthly salary, that means they are salaried employees and they do not get an hourly wage, so there cannot be a minimum on it. The federal minimum salary is $23,660 a year, and I’m sure they’re getting more than that.

    The amount of the monthly check when multiplied by 12 and divided by # of hours worked over 10 months equals the $15 minimum wage.

    Interesting arithmetic, but utterly irrelevant. Salaries don’t work like that.

    #1756346

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Wow, Milhouse that’s great! Let’s inform all NYC employers to just call it a salary and then they are magically exempt from the minimum wage law. Not sure where you live, but that’s not how it works.
    I clearly wrote “For full timers there, it’s about 31 hours a week equaling a ten month salary of $20,134.50 which is below the federal minimum you site.”, yet you blithely ignore that by writing “The federal minimum salary is $23,660 a year, and I’m sure they’re getting more than that.”
    The whole purpose of the NYS minimum wage law is to raise it and the federal levels to a “living wage” yet somehow you in your brilliance have somehow managed to subvert the whole system.
    In any case that is irrelevant since the only ones exempt from the state laws are certain professional occupations which do not include childcare workers.

    #1756437

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Sorry shoud have been:
    The whole purpose of the NYS minimum wage law is to raise it above the federal levels to a “living wage”

    #1756439

    yitzchokm
    Participant

    Uncle Ben
    It would behoove you to learn the difference between hourly wage and salary

    Or, continue making a fool out of yourself

    Ps I didn’t check milhouse’s numbers. I don’t know if it’s correct. The gist of his argument most definitely is

    Pps, Google is your friend

    #1757161

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Yitzchokm; So perhaps you can enlighten me. Are you claiming that a NYC daycare or pre-k provider with over 10 employees can pay them below the NYS minimum wage because it’s a “salary”? Please cite evidence for that claim since I can’t find any on Professor Google.
    Thanks

    #1757334

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Uncle Ben, do you not understand the difference between a salary and a wage? A wage is paid per hour. A salary is paid per week, month, or year, regardless of the hours worked. When you are on a salary you are expected to do the job, which means putting in as much or as little time as it takes to get it done.

    New York state has a minimum wage but it has no minimum salary. The USA does have a minimum salary, which New York has not chosen to supplement.

    Also, teachers are professionals. They certainly insist on that and protest loudly if anyone implies that they are not.

    #1757351

    Milhouse
    Participant

    BTW I “blithely ignored” what you wrote because you wrote that “it’s about 31 hours a week equaling a ten month salary of $20,134.50”, which makes no sense. A salary by definition is not made up of hours. I also find it difficult to believe that anyone in NYC works for so little.

    Now here’s a wild guess at what is happening at this unnamed and possibly hypothetical school. Perhaps they used to be paid a salary for ten months; $20K for ten months is above the federal minimum. Perhaps the school has now decided to spread that salary over twelve months instead of ten, and is unaware of the federal minimum. If so, it would be appropriate for one of these salaried employees to bring it to the school’s attention.

    #1757364

    Milhouse
    Participant

    PS: Forget about reminding the school. I just learned that the minimum salary of $455 a week does not apply to teachers.

    “Teachers are exempt if their primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge, and if they are employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in an educational establishment. Exempt teachers include, but are not limited to, regular academic teachers; kindergarten or nursery school teachers; teachers of gifted or disabled children; teachers of skilled and semi-skilled trades and occupations; teachers engaged in automobile driving instruction; aircraft flight instructors; home economics teachers; and vocal or instrument music teachers. The salary and salary basis requirements do not apply to bona fide teachers. Having a primary duty of teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge includes, by its very nature, exercising discretion and judgment.”

    #1762487

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    The work I’m referring to here is childcare which I don’t believe is considered teaching.
    In any case doesn’t the NY/NYC minimum wage law supersede the Federal one?
    Additionally if employees have to clock in and work specific hours how can the employer call their wages a salary and exempt them from the minimum wage? This is not a project oriented job of “till the job gets done”.
    This is not a hypothetical situation even though some may have trouble believing it.
    Again I apologize for using the word slavery, I should have written, “Taking Advantage of Employees”.

    #1764890

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Well Milhouse, Yitzchokm?

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