Histadrut Chairman Concerned Over the Government Response to Ongoing Crisis

Adi Marcus
Oct 22, 2023

The Chairman of Histadrut, Arnon Bar-David, has raised critical concerns regarding the State of Israel’s recent decision to remove responsibility for paying wages to many of the employees who cannot come to work due to the impact of the current terror attacks faced by Hamas and the new Home Front Command directives aimed to ensure peoples’ safety.

In a letter sent to Bezalel Smotrich, the Finance Minister of Israel, and MK Moshe Gafni, Bar-David points out that this move can potentially strain the trust between the state, its citizens, and employers and employees. It may also compromise compliance with Home Front Command directives, resulting in significant human costs.

“Worse than that – this decision means that the State of Israel removes responsibility for paying wages for not coming to work due to Home Front Command directives. In doing so, the State violates the trust between itself and its citizens, employers and employees – and may lead to compliance with Home Front Command directives being compromised and this costing human lives,” Bar-David warned.

Bar-David emphasizes that sending the masses to unpaid leave during this war is not a reasonable solution. Instead, a proper safety net must be provided for workers whose employers have no choice but to send them on unpaid leave. He has outlined a list of necessary simplifications in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits. Whilst many can access unemployment benefits, there needs to be a clear outline for benefits eligibility, including providing unemployment benefits payments to employees who have exhausted their quota of unemployment days.

“There is room to expand the safety net also through the National Insurance Institute in places where the Treasury plan does not provide an answer,” Bar-David clarifies.

With regard to workers of large businesses, the Chairman of Histadrut asserts that dedicated solutions should be created for businesses with a turnover of NIS 400 million or more to ensure staff is retained. He proposes that rather than the 60% rate presented in the current outline, the compensation rate for the salary component of the grant should be set at 80% of the total salary costs, commonly referred to as “The German model”.

In conclusion, Bar-David states, “It is with confidence that we all see the importance of the functional continuity of the economy and the society at this time, which does not allow workers and businesses to be left without any economic safety net.”

The Histadrut stands ready to work alongside relevant stakeholders to address these challenges and ensure the welfare and economic stability of the nation.

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