In Israel, tens of thousands of workers are employed to clean in private homes. These workers come from a variety of backgrounds, and cleaners may be Israeli citizens with ID cards, migrant workers with valid or invalid visas, asylum seekers, those without status, refugees, and more.
Who we help
- Migrant workers (documented and undocumented)
- Israeli citizens
- Refugees and asylum seekers
Problems Faced by Workers
Tens of thousands of workers, largely women, are employed as house cleaners in private homes across Israel in what is a largely unregulated and informal market. Most workers are paid in cash, with some sort of agreement regarding the format of the transaction between the parties. Often the worker and employer do not fluently speak the same language.
House cleaners are eligible for all the rights outlined in Israeli labor law, but many times both the workers and the employers do not know this and are under the impression that house cleaners are only entitled to their hourly wage. In reality, these workers are eligible for social security, pension, holiday pay, vacation time and pay, severance pay and other standard labor rights.
Given the lack of awareness of rights among house cleaners and their employers, workers often turn to KLO at times of crisis or after dismissal. Unfortunately, many undocumented workers report that when they ask for their due compensation, their employers threaten to turn them over to the authorities for deportation.
To address these key issues facing housecleaners, Kav LaOved seeks to promote better regulation of their employment by encouraging the use of labor contracts at the beginning of employment, which define the employment plan and utilize payslips.
KLO in Action
Informing Workers About Their Rights
KLO manages a Facebook page for housecleaners that regularly provides updates on laws and regulations relevant to house cleaners. In addition, KLO provides brochures on labor rights information relevant for house cleaners in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Russian on our website.
The KLO team hosts in-person reception hours in Tel Aviv once a week through which they provide legal and paralegal assistance to house cleaners. The most common violations of cleaning workers’ rights addressed by the project are non-payment of social benefits, National Insurance, severance pay and advance notice. The team opened and closed hundreds of cases and returned almost 1.3 million ILS in owed salary and benefits for housecleaners in 2020.