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Islamic Employment Law on Delaying the Payment of Wages to Staff

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Islamic Employment Law on Delaying the Payment of Wages to Staff

 

Question:

I work in a madrasah where the wages are supposed to be paid monthly but the wages are always delayed and paid on different dates.  At times, there is a few days delay and at times, one week into the next month passes and we still have not received our wages.  Is this against Shariah employment law?  Furthermore, we feel shy to ask for wages as we are told it is Khidmah thus evading discussions on pay?

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 

The Answer:

According to Islamic employment law, if the payment of wages has been agreed to at the end of every month, it becomes binding on the employer to pay the employee immediately at the end of the month[1]

 

Thus, if the contract stipulates payment of wages at monthly intervals, the employer must adhere to this and pay monthly.  To delay in paying wages without any justified reason is sinful.  The Qur’an has instructed the immediate payment of wages upon completion of the service or on the contractually agreed term:

“Then if they give suck to the children for you, give them their due payment” (Qur’an 65:6)

 

The Prophet ﷺ instructed employers to give the wages when they are due immediately in the following manner:

“Give the employee his wage before his sweat dries.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

 

Commenting on the above, al-Munāwī rahimahullah states:

“It is prohibited to delay and postpone the payment of wages by the employer despite having the ability to pay.”[2]

 

Considering the above, it is totally incorrect for your employer to delay in paying you without justification.  Employees are further disadvantaged when the payment method is cheque which takes up to a further five days to clear. 

 

In the United Kingdom, we live in a society of direct debits, liabilities and constant cash inflows and outflows.  Every person has payments to make on fixed dates and liabilities to meet.  Delaying in paying wages has a ripple effect on a person’s financial duties.  Thus, the need to pay regularly at the pre-agreed interval is even more emphasised.

 

Moving on, employers should consider this their Islamic obligation to ensure their employees are paid on time.  The employers should seek advice from accountants to ensure efficient and timely payment of staff.

 

In respect to your second issue about Khidmah (service) in Islamic institutes, this is sadly exploited.  A scholar, Imam and anybody else who serves at a Masjid or Madrasah is serving Islam, however, his Khidmah and service is for Allah and between him and Allah[3].  Conversely, Between the scholar/teacher and the employer, it is not Khidmah; it is a contract of employment.  All the laws of employment govern the relationship between the employer and employee.  The employer has rights and dues just as the employee has rights and dues.  A Masjid or Madrasah cannot exploit the concept of Khidmah to over demand service, delay in pay and underpay. 

 

And Allah Ta’ālā Alone Knows Best

 

Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,

www.darulfiqh.com

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