The Israeli labor force has about three and a half million workers. The median salary (meaning the monthly pay half of workers earn more of, and half less) for 2012 was 5,343 NIS per month, illustrating the large pay gaps in the Israeli labor market. 25% of workers are employed via outsourcing, and are exposed to exploitation and abuse of their social rights. This is the main reason for the recently identified phenomenon of working people living below the poverty line. Kav LaOved serves around 6,000 Israeli workers each year via internet and face to face consultations and legal assistance.
The majority of complaints we receive are regarding unpaid salaries, days’ suspension without pay, lack of payment of some or all social rights, payment for less hours than the actual hours worked, unlawful deductions, deduction of pension pay without transferring the money to a pension fund, unlawful terminations, and fines for quitting.
Contract workers: The majority of violations of workers’ rights occur in outsourced employment through manpower companies, such as security, cleaning, gyms, and even sales in clothing and retail shops. As the job or project comes to an end, or if the contractor loses a bid, the workers face withheld wages and often resort to a lawsuit. Workers employed in security, catering and cleaning are vulnerable to overall violations of their rights. Speaking with the employer or publicizing the violation may be effective in addressing the case.
Lack of payment for pensions: The Mandatory Pension Agreement, that was expended by warrant and came into effect in late 2008, significantly increased the number of salaried workers with pension insurance. However, those with lower incomes are not yet receiving their pensions in full. Among people earning 5,000 NIS per month, 50% have pension insurance, while 80% of people earning more than 5,000 NIS per month are insured. Lack of payment and deposit of pension funds can be resolved by Kav LaOved directly approaching the employers, as well as the authorities and labor courts.
Fines for Leaving a Job: A well-known phenomenon that started in cell phone companies and has since spread to other employers is fining an employer for leaving the job. The help offered in these cases focuses on examining the reasons for leaving and assisting the workers in requesting to refund or cancel the fine, or by appealing to the labor courts.
Bullying: Most workers who complain of bullying are female and describe harassment in the work place and being insulted in public by the employer. In these cases, we assist workers in speaking with employers or by turning to the labor courts.
Revoking license of Security Company: a long and hard struggle led by the organization to revoke the license of “Security Company” in 2006, has created awareness among the public and in the government of the problems in this work field. It resulted in changes in the way security companies are treated, in bids, in a certain amount of regulation and in the labor courts.
Heightened Enforcement Law: in which there is a Service Order Responsibility clause initiated by Kav LaOved and promoted alongside with the Forum for Enforcement of Workers’ Rights. The clause created a change in right violation patterns that occurred prior to the law’s taking effect.
Promoting a law to require providing pay slips: the law was promoted together with the Forum for Enforcement of Workers’ Rights, and has affected the passing of Salary Protection Law amendment, that was broader than the original initiative and made providing pay slip a requirement.
Amendment to Giving Employees Written Information law
Raising awareness for workers’ rights: investment in information and publicity over the internet and in the media, by using personal stories showing occurrences of employees being harmed, that has raised awareness of(among) workers to their rights and to the option of internet consultations.
- Reducing weekly work hours, restricting and revoking the overall permit to employ (in) overtime that harms workers (link). Including overtime in the base salary from which pension and social benefits are paid, transitioning from contract work to direct hiring.
- Expansion and implementation of preventative enforcement: revoking licenses of employers who violate workers’ rights and conditioning governmental contracts, grants and tax benefits for fulfilling workers’ protective right.