@YisroelKatz posted on Mon Dec 16, over a year ago
Rava said - If one hired workers to dig ditches in his field, and then rain came and filled [the field] with water, making the land unsuitable for digging, the law is as follows - If [the employer] and the workers inspected his land on the previous evening, the fact that it rained is the workers' loss, and they are not paid anything. But if he and the workers had not inspected his land on the previous evening, then the fact that it rained is the employer's loss, and he must pay [each worker] as one would pay an idle worker
אמר רבא האי מאן דאגר אגירי לרפקא ואתא מטרא ומלייה מיא אי סיירא לארעיה מאורתא פסידא דפועלים לא סיירא לארעיה מאורתא פסידא דבעל הבית ויהיב להו כפועל בטל
As a general rule, the only time the employer is liable to compensate the workers for lost time is when he had reason to suspect that a given occurence would make work unnecessary or impossible, and the workers had no reason to suspect this. In such a case, the employer had a responsibility to share his knowledge of the situation with the workers, and if he did not do this, he must pay them for the damages they suffered by this information being withheld from them. If, however, both the employer and the workers had the same grasp of the situation (both were either aware or unaware that a given occurrence would make a work stoppage necessary), then the employer bears no special responsibility towards the workers, and the workers have no claim against the employer for their lost time (Ritva, Rosh ראש). Here, then, if the workers did not see the field on the day before, they can tell the employer, "We could not have known that this field was susceptible to flooding on account of an evening rain. You, the employer, probably knew this information and by not informing us of it, you have caused us to lose a day's work." If, however, they did see the field on the day before, the employer is not liable for the workers' lost time; he may tell them that it is their own mazel that it rained. [When the workers had not previously seen the field, Rosh ראש suggests another reason why the employer is liable to pay them. The workers can in effect tell the employer, "You told us that we were being hired to dig ditches, you did not mention that we were to did in any specific field. If this field is flooded, then, either give us work in a different field, or pay us as idle workers!"
רש"י Rashi ד"ה לא סיירא מאורתא and Maharam Schif, also Derishah 334:1).]
בבא מציעא עו-עז Bava Metzia 76-77
דף יומי Daf Yomi