The Histadrut, the Ministry of Finance and the Business Sector Presidency have signed agreements to compensate wages to workers who missed work due to Operation “Guardian of the Walls,” which occurred in May of last year. The agreements also regulate the compensation of employers by the state.

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In accordance with the Property Tax and Compensation Fund Regulations, wages will be paid to employees absent from work due to Home Front Command directives, or due to the need to supervise their children following closures of educational institutions imposed between May 10-21 2021. The agreements will apply to workers within a range of up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) from the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. 

The compensation mechanism regulated in the new agreements is similar to that which was in operation during Operation “Protective Edge” in 2014. Workers who were absent in order to supervise children will be entitled to a payment from their employer even without the declaration that the child is registered in an educational institution.

Wage payment or credit for the quota of vacation days in respect of working days in which they were absent will be transferred to public sector workers as part of their January salary that will be paid at the beginning of February. The salaries will be paid as detailed in a contract that will be posted by the Commissioner of Salary and Employment Agreements in the Ministry of Finance, in accordance with the principles of the agreement signed.

In the private sector, daily wages will be paid as if the worker had worked normally during that time. As mentioned, the workers will receive compensation from the state in accordance with what is stated in the regulations.

The validity of the agreement in the private sector is subject to an extension order which needs to be signed by Minister of Economy Orna Barbivai. The payments will be made as part of the first salary payment made following the issuing of the extension order.

Similarly to the compensation mechanism for “Protective Edge”, the agreement also includes a clause dealing with parental rights of children with special needs. Every worker who is a parent or guardian of a person with a disability will be entitled to compensation to the extent that he is absent from work for the purpose of supervising the child, even in cases where the child is over 14 years of age.

Histadrut Chairman Arnon Bar-David spoke out in support of the agreement.

“Even during the operation itself, when the consequences of the serious security situation became clear, I worked to also include workers who were not in the immediate range of the Gaza Strip in the future compensation mechanism,” he said. 

“The agreements will help all who were forced to stop their routine and occupation, and compensate them for the difficult period when Israel was hit hard,” he continued. “I want to thank all parties who understood the importance of this compensation mechanism that will benefit many. The Histadrut works, and will continue to work, in emergencies and during route, for the workers who are the beating heart of the Israeli economy and society.”

Chairman of the Business Sector Presidency, Dovi Amitai added: “We are happy we were able, through partnership and understanding, to ensure the state recognizes its responsibility over the fabric of labor relations and to ensure the obligation of compensation of employers for expenses incurred by them, due to the security situation and state decisions.”

This article was translated from Hebrew by Greg Dorfman.