A New Dawn for Israel’s Early Educators: Over 55,000 Workers to Benefit from Historic Collective Agreement!

Adi Marcus
Aug 08, 2023

After lengthy negotiations between the Histadrut, the Ministry of Finance and the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, the reform in the salary and terms of employment of the kindergarten teachers’ aids in the local authorities was signed today.

The reform significantly advances the status of more than 55,000 Education Supporters. A bundle of improved working conditions and compensation, new professional development opportunities, ongoing professional training and higher education subsidies is aimed to bring about a fundamental change in the perception of the profession. The new professional term ‘Education Supporter’ pinpoints the change this agreement brings about for the workers of the sector.

The teacher’s aids sector in Israel has experienced a manpower crisis due to historic low compensation coupled with lack of development opportunities. In recent years, it contributed to staffing shortages in the availability of public kindergartens in many municipalities across Israel.  The agreement signed today addresses the need of workers in the sector, and essentially redefines the role of teachers’ aids. It will encourage new workers to join the sector, as significant contributors to the early childhood education system.

The main points of the agreement:

  • Salary increases: The basic salary of education supporters will be increased by more than 20% standing at NIS 7,000 to NIS 8,000 for a full-time position for new employees without seniority; The base salary of an education supporter in a kindergarten/school will be increased to NIS 7,200; For workers who support children with special needs to integrate into the classroom and education supporters with a medical background, the base salary will be increased to NIS 7,000; The base salary of an education supporter in the special education system will be increased to NIS 8,000.
  • Promotion and professional development: The agreement regulates professional development, both via training and certifications, and via professional promotions, which are the core resolutions that reconstruct the sector as a professional sector. Continuing educational training and opportunities to pursue related qualifications will guarantee additional compensation to the base salaries ranging from 400 to 1,600 ILS, depending on the education and/or training pursued.
  • Additional salary increases for seniority on the sum of monthly 50 ILS for each year of seniority (with the highest seniority in the scale being 40 years)
  • Shortening of the work week: The work week will be shortened to 40 hours for the entire period of the agreement. At the end of which the possibility of shortening it to 39 hours per week will be examined. It has been agreed that the capacity of the revived (wo)manpower in the sector in 2027 will be the main point of reference to prevent continued shortages. This change will essentially increase the hourly rate and allow for a more appropriate life-work balance.
  • Persistence incentives: a monthly persistence incentive of up to NIS 600 for an education supporter who will not be absent from work, as well as an annual grant of NIS 1,000 for an education supporter who will be absent for less than 10 cumulative days of illness for that year.
  • Compensation for replacing a kindergarten teacher: An education supporter who replaces a kindergarten teacher will be entitled to an additional NIS 200 for each day.
  • Vacation and compensation schedule: The vacation schedule will be adjusted to that of the Ministry of Education. Additional compensation for work during the summer break and holiday vacations has been agreed on.
  • Additional benefits in the agreement: workers will receive an annual clothing allowance. A new academic training course for education supporters will be compiled and offered via the “Horizon in Movement” (Ofek Be-Tnua) pathway. The training offered to workers will be heavily subsidized by the employers.

Representatives of the parties to the agreement came together to give a press conference this morning in which they stated their satisfaction with this agreement and its capacity to provide for the needs and grievances of this sector’s workers, and the government and local authorities’ needs. All parties agreed that this achievement will bring new workers into the education sector ad ensure better quality of education in Israel.

Chairman of the Histadrut, Arnon Bar-David: “Today I close an important circle in my life as a workers’ leader. We made history, and as I promised, we turned the role of the assistants in kindergartens into an education supporter, a profession at the core of the pedagogical activity. The unique agreement brings great news to tens of thousands of workers, with a dramatic increase in wages, unique grants, professional training [opportunities] and an effective promotion mechanism. Now I call you, education supporters, raise your heads! We brought about a change that costs a lot of money, and we placed the importance of your profession on the table! I thank the partners at the Histadrut, the Ministry of Finance and the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel for an agreement, which provides a complementary and unique response to the framework agreement we signed in the public sector.”

Chairman of the Histadrut’s UCAPSE, attorney Gil Bar-Tal: “After long and complex negotiations, following the vision of the chairman of the Histadrut, Arnon Bar-David, and with his support, an unprecedented reform was achieved, which matches the sacred work of education supporters to the status they deserve, turning the profession into an actual recognized profession that provides advancement a horizon for personal development. I congratulate the education supporters, and promise that the UCAPSE will continue and accompany them all the way.”

Repesentatives of the Education Supporters at the press conference today with Arnon Bar-David and leaders of the collective agreement

Director General of the Ministry of Finance, Shlomi Heisler: “The education supporter agreement proves the importance we see in supporting early childhood education workers. We believe that the agreement will lead to the stability and prosperity of early childhood education.”

Chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities, Haim Bibas: “Today we managed to achieve a historic and important achievement for all education supporters in Israel. After many months of discussions, pressures and efforts, we are coming out with good news for the 55,000 local government employees. Education supports will no longer be transparent in the system. We are moving them to the forefront of the early childhood education team so that the education system in Israel can begin to raise its head and recover. The new agreement results in an improvement in all aspects of employment and wages for all education supporters without exception and corrects years of injustice. For the first time, we created a real incentive model for continuous work throughout the year, we built a horizon and a path for occupational advancement with professional training and a curriculum. We fought, together with the Histadrut, for a comprehensive reform, and we congratulate the parties involved. I would like to thank Histadrut Chairman Arnon Bar David, the head of wages at the Ministry of Finance, and Hagit Magen, head of the Department of Wages and Labor Agreements at the Federation of Local Authorities, for many months of protracted negotiations that culminated today in the signing of the agreement.”

Histadrut leaders of the collective agreement at the press coference today

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