Who We Are
Kav LaOved is a non-profit organization which aims to uphold full and equal labor rights for all workers in the Israeli labor market regardless of religion, nationality, gender or legal status. We advocate on behalf of the most marginalized workers, namely low-income Israeli citizens, refugees and asylum-seekers, Palestinians and migrant workers, through grassroots individual assistance efforts as well as policy and legal advocacy to promote systemic change. KLO employs a staff of 22 individuals and engages over 65 trained volunteers in our work. The organization is governed by a seven-member board of directors.
How We Change the Equation for Workers
KLO engages all levels of society—from the community to the High Court—to protect workers’ rights. At the grassroots level, we distribute information about workers’ rights and offer individual assistance to thousands of workers who need support advocating for and attaining their rights. We also monitor and track work accidents across all labor market sectors. This grassroots work captures emerging trends in labor rights violations by employers and agencies state failures in the implementation and enforcement of current laws as well as gaps in the overall framework for worker protection. Analysis of these trends in turn guides our systems level advocacy efforts, which improve state enforcement of current laws as well as promote needed changes in the overarching legal, policy and regulatory framework of the labor market. Once new policies or laws are adopted, KLO again has a comprehensive “feedback loop” through our grassroots work to monitor and evaluate an initiative’s effectiveness and push for further reform as needed.
Kav LaOved in 2020
In 2020 our direct assistance to individual workers spanned every sector in the labor market and addressed a variety of issues, such as non-payment of wages and benefits, illegal firing during pregnancy, failure to place money in migrant worker deposit accounts, lack of workman’s compensation, and labor trafficking among others.
At the systems level, we focused on legal and policy advocacy to advance the rights of workers. A few highlights include the overturning of the Deposit Law for asylum seekers, the adoption of a new employment model for Palestinians from the West Bank working in Israel, reform of the Palestinian pension fund, key reports highlighting the state’s widespread lack of enforcement of the minimum wage in Israel as well as workers’ safety. KLO also played an instrumental role in representing several groups of international students subject to labor exploitation in the agricultural sector. We issued 32 Freedom of Information requests, managed 7 High Court of Justice petitions geared toward policy change and contributed to more than 100 media items.
The COVID-19 crisis
Despite the unprecedented challenges faced by a series of lockdowns, including staff and volunteers having to work from home and office closures, KLO continued to provide support to workers throughout the crisis through phone, email, WhatsApp and online assistance. We assisted hundreds of workers weekly from a range of populations and sectors, which gave us a first-hand account of the diverse situations facing workers on the ground and in real time. We increased hotline hours and provided daily updates on our Facebook pages with over 100,000 followers to keep workers updated in 9 languages about current regulations and policies, their labor rights and ways to address violations they may be facing. We offered hands on assistance in applying for unemployment and other benefits for many who lacked the language and technical skills to follow application procedures. As a voice for these workers, many of whom lack access to decision-making channels, KLO advocated for needed policy reforms to improve the safety net for workers such as: du-Repeal of the Deposit Law requirement that employers deduct 20% of salaries of refugees and place these funds in a deposit account redeemable only upon emigration from Israel.
- Successful petition to the High Court of Justice regarding healthcare and insurance coverage, decent housing and trafficking prevention for Palestinian workers living in Israel to work during lockdowns.
- Advocacy work regarding the rights of migrant workers in the agriculture and caregiving sectors who were stuck abroad or in Israel during lock downs and those who faced the burden of carrying costs associated with mandated quarantine procedures.
- Advocacy against regulations that prohibited caregivers from leaving caregiving facilities and violated their right to freedom of movement during the crisis.
- Advocacy against requirements that Israeli workers use sick time to cover mandated quarantine and an official waiver allowing Israeli employers to fire women who are pregnant.
- The Badge of Israel’s National Committee for Volunteering
- The Award of the Knesset Chairman for Quality of Life
- The Emblem of the President for Fighting Human Trafficking
- The Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award
- The Silver Rose Award from the organization “SOLIDAR: Advancing Social Justice in Europe and Worldwide”