This is a rough translation of an article on the Labour Ministry web site. I did this as a service to the English speaking community in Isarel. Please check for accuracies on the Hebrew site. חרבות ברזל: שאלות ותשובות בנושא זכויות עובדים | משרד העבודה (www.gov.il)
Due to the war, the Ministry of Labor has compiled information on the topic of workers’ rights.
It should be emphasized that in all matters related to reporting to work, you must adhere to the instructions of the Home Front Command according to the residents’ region. The following responses are based on agreements, which were established in the past. Will workers absent from work due to the war be entitled to compensation? The determination of compensation is usually decided retroactively, usually at the end of the war. Examples where wage payment obligation applied to workers who were absent from work: In agreements and arrangements made during past times of conflict, it was determined that residents of settlements who were in the area (around Gaza in this case) and were absent from work or did not perform their work on days when their workplace or place of residence was in the area declared a special home front situation would be entitled to payment from their employers.
Employees who seemingly qualify for compensation according to an agreement, to whom should they turn to receive it? Employers’ compensation for wage payment will be received (subject to agreement) following claims filed with the Treasury, as stipulated in Property Tax and Compensation Fund (Compensation Payment) Regulations – War Damage and Indirect Damage (Temporary Provision) 2009. In the past, it was stipulated in collective agreements reached between employees, employers, and the government that employers whose workplaces were closed by Home Front Command’s instructions would pay their regular wages and could receive compensation in accordance with the provisions of the Property Tax and Compensation Fund Regulations. However, no agreement exists regarding “Operation Iron Swords,” so only with the signing of a collective agreement will employees become eligible for compensation when their workplace was closed by Home Front Command’s instructions.
Can employees take days off during times of conflict? An employee who is absent from work in the mentioned circumstances can, with the employer’s agreement, take days off as they see fit.
If a factory has a protected room, and employees still do not come to work? Generally, employees are protected from layoffs only if Home Front Command’s orders prohibit them from coming to their workplace. In cases where employees are unsure whether the workplace is protected or not, they can contact Home Front Command to clarify the instructions. If, according to Home Front Command, the factory is considered protected, employees’ absence from work is their responsibility.
Can the employer request that employees physically come to work or work remotely due to the emergency situation? Yes, the decision regarding remote work is at the employer’s discretion unless otherwise stipulated in a personal or collective agreement.
Can employees demand to work remotely? The decision to work remotely is at employer’s discression. However, it is the employer’s responsibility to seriously and substantively consider the employee’s request to work from home given the existing circumstances.
Are employees who have to stay home with their children due to the closure of educational institutions during the security situation entitled to compensation? In the past, following expanded agreements between employers’ organizations and employees that were authorized by the Minister of Labor to apply to all employees and Property Tax Workers’ Regulations for employees who were required to stay at home and care for their children (up to age 14) due to Home Front Command notifications, they received payment as if they had worked. We are currently in a time of conflict, and as mentioned, the matter will be arranged retroactively, as has been done in the past.
Can an employee be absent due to taking care of their children?
In addition, according to the Emergency Employment Service Law, it is forbidden for an employer to dismiss an employee who has to stay at home to take care of a child under the age of 14 or a child with special needs up to the age of 21 due to the closure of an educational institution, as a result of a special situation declared by the Home Front Command, provided that one of the following conditions is met:
- The parent is single, or the child is solely in their care.
- The employee’ s spouse is unable to stay home to take care of the child.
Is it possible to be absent from work in a place where there is a childcare arrangement in place for the child?
If the workplace of the employee or their spouse provides an appropriate childcare arrangement for the child, the employee cannot be absent from work, and there is no protection against dismissal. Unless otherwise specified by personal or collective agreements, work can be done remotely if agreed upon and arranged at the workplace.
What are the payment options for employees in a factory that has been ordered not to open?
In general, the law does not require employers to pay wages to employees who have chosen not to come to work unless it is a workplace that was closed in accordance with Home Front Command instructions and a wage payment obligation was established by agreement between the parties or in accordance with the law.
If there is a sheltered room in the workplace, but employees are still afraid to come to work, will they be entitled to a salary?
The employer is not required to pay a salary to an employee who did not come to work, in a situation where they were not explicitly prohibited from going to the workplace according to the Home Front Command instructions. Therefore, the employer can demand that the employee come to the workplace unless Home Front Command instructions explicitly state otherwise. However, the employer and the employee can agree on the absence of the employee, according to the available vacation days or agree that the work will be done remotely, as long as it is agreed upon and arranged at the workplace.
What is the law regarding the payment of wages to employees who did not come to work due to the situation?
In general, the law does not require employers to pay wages to employees who chose not to come to work, unless it is a workplace that was closed according to Home Front Command instructions and the payment obligation was established by agreement between the parties or in accordance with the law.
Can employees demand payment if they received a summons?
No, according to the law, employees who have been summoned to reserve duty during their military service or within 30 days after it are not allowed to be dismissed.
Can an employee with disabilities be fired when the workplace is open?
Employees with disabilities may not be dismissed if the security forces’ instructions prevent them from coming to work.
Can employees who do not come to work due to the situation demand compensation?
In general, the law does not require employers to pay salaries to employees who have chosen not to come to work, unless it is a workplace that was closed according to Home Front Command instructions and a wage payment obligation was established by agreement between the parties or in accordance with the law.
If the workplace has a secure room, and employees still do not come to work?
As a rule, employees in a protected workplace are not subject to dismissal unless the Home Front Command instructions explicitly prohibit them from coming to the workplace. In cases where it is unclear to employees whether the workplace is protected or not, they can contact the Home Front Command to clarify the guidelines. If, according to the Home Front Command, the workplace is considered protected, then not going to work is the responsibility of the employees.
What is the law regarding wage payment to employees who did not come to work due to the situation?
In general, the law does not require employers to pay wages to employees who have chosen not to come to work unless it is a workplace that was closed according to Home Front Command instructions, and a wage payment obligation was established by agreement between the parties or in accordance with the law.
Can employees be fired for not coming to work in a factory that has been ordered not to open?
It is prohibited to dismiss employees when the security forces’ instructions prevent them from coming to work. Therefore, if the workplace is not protected, and the Home Front Command instructions prohibit working in it, dismissals are not valid, and employees who are dismissed can demand that their employer not dismiss them and can appeal to the labor court for wrongful termination. Employers who do not follow these rules are subject to criminal penalties.
*The government will act in accordance with developments to provide comprehensive support to employees and employers.