From The HOTLINE
A Project of the Business Halacha Institute
All content has been reviewed by Harav Chaim Kohn Shlita for accuracy
by Rabbi Meir Orlian, Yerushalayim
My husband learns full-time and I work full-time. Our two-year-old daughter has been attending a playgroup run by a local woman this year. This week, the babysitter informed us that she will no longer be running the group as of next month. We’ve searched for an alternative program for our daughter to join, but all the groups follow the school calendar and do not accept new children mid-year. It would seem that our only alternative would be to hire a private babysitter, but that would be prohibitively expensive.
Q: Given these circumstances, is there any way that we can demand that the original playgroup allow our daughter to continue there until the end of the school year?
A: Generally, an employee has the right to quit whenever s/he chooses (Choshen Mishpat 333:3). This is based on the pasuk that states (Vayikra 25:55), “Bnai Yisroel are servants to me,” and Chazal infer from this that we are servants to Hashem and not servants to servants. This allowance, however, has limitations. Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 333:5) writes that an employee’s right to quit is limited to where his employer will not suffer a financial loss as a result of the employee quitting. If, however, the employer would suffer a loss as a result of the employee quitting, the employee is not allowed to quit. Furthermore, if it is a circumstance in which the employee is not permitted to quit, the employer has two options in dealing with the situation. He can hire another employee and the additional amount that is paid to the second employee is deducted from the first employee’s wages, or he can promise the first employee that he will be paid extra to complete the job – but when he finishes, he may give him the original agreed-upon amount.
One of the cases mentioned by the Rema that constitutes a loss is a housekeeper or slave who wants to quit. The reason this is considered a loss is that the employer cannot do his job if someone is not taking care of his household needs. Similarly, if you are working and your husband is learning, one of you will have to quit in order to stay with your daughter since other programs are not accepting new students. As such, you may demand that your daughter be allowed to continue in the program through the remainder of the school year. In the event that the babysitter doesn’t comply, you have the right to exercise one of the two options mentioned in Shulchan Aruch.
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(YWN Desk – NYC)