Shivat Zion

FAQ: Workers Rights During Wartime (Iron Swords 2023)

Version 1.2 November 2023
This article was adapted and translated by Shivat Zion. To see the original by Blue & White Finance, click here.
The information contained in this article is for general educational purposes and should never be viewed as specific investment, tax, or legal advice.

Does my employer have to pay my salary even if I'm not working?

Yes, if you’ve been called up for military duty (Tzav 8/9), your employer must continue paying your salary. For cases involving childcare or unsafe workplaces, the Ministry of Labor recommends payment, but the law isn’t explicit. Compensation details are pending, and agreements might be finalized after the war.

Can my employer fire me or force me to take paid or Chalat - חל”ת - unpaid leave?

You cannot be fired if following official military, safety, or child care directives. Paid leave can be enforced for up to 7 days without notice. If you choose not to work, and have used up all of your vacation days, you can mutually agree with your employer on a period of “Chalat” – unpaid leave.

If you choose not to work, your employer may have the right to fire you however they must do so according to the regular procedure (providing a hearing etc.)

Can I work from home if I want to, even if my employer disagrees?

Unless official orders or workplace safety concerns exist, your employer can require in-office work. Communication and compromise are encouraged to find a resolution.

Can my employer require me to work from home as the workplace is unsafe, but it’s too hard to work from home?

Unless your contract specifies otherwise, your employer has the right to ask you to work from home.

Can my employer reduce my hours or pay due to the situation?

In general, employers cannot reduce hours or pay due to the current situation. Such actions could lead to legal consequences, as stated by the Labor Ministry.

Can I claim unemployment pay if I have been placed on unpaid leave?

Yes – you are likely to be entitled to unemployment pay if you are placed on unpaid leave. The expected temporary changes to the unpaid leave system due to the war include:

  • Qualification if you have worked 6 out of the past 12 months
  • Qualification if your unpaid leave is 14 days or longer (rather than requiring 30 days minimum)
  • Potential qualification, even if you have previously used up your limit of unemployment benefit days
  • Removal of the requirement to use up your vacation days before being entitled to unpaid leave benefits

Unemployment pay is usually equal to around 40-60% of your salary, depending on your age and salary level.
You can read more here (Hebrew).

Can essential workers refuse to come to work?

Essential workers must report to work; failure can be considered a criminal offense. Employers must consider a mother’s childcare needs, though the law is ambiguous in its wording.

Can I use my vacation days or sick days voluntarily?

Employers can decide on vacation requests, but they must act in good faith considering employee needs. Sick leave is allowed, often requiring a doctor’s note, especially for extended periods.

For Self Employed & Business Owners:

As an Atzmai or business owner, will I be entitled to receive compensation?

On November 1, 2023 the government approved a major compensation package for businesses throughout the country. The package was subsequently approved by the Knesset.

The package provides the following:

  • Businesses within 40km of Gaza will reportedly (Nov 5, 2023) receive full compensation for lost revenue, salaries, expenses etc. This includes Ashdod and Be’er Sheva.
  • Businesses in border towns (see list here) can already apply for an advance on the compensation payment.
  • Businesses with up to 400 million shekels annual revenue (countrywide), that have recorded a reduction of 25% in revenue in October or November (or 12.5% across both months together) will receive partial compensation. You can use this calculator to check if you are eligible.
  • Businesses with up to 300,000 shekels in annual revenue will receive the following fixed amounts based on annual turnover and the percentage drop in revenue:

Compensation for businesses with up to 300,00 shekels revenue. Source: Ministry of Finance

  • Compensation for businesses over 300,000 shekels in size, will consist of two components:

    Fixed expenses: Partial compensation of 7-22% of fixed expenses, depending on the level of impact the business experienced.

    Salaries: The compensation formula is as follows: The percentage reduction in revenue, multiplied by salary expenses, multiplied by 75%.

Compensation for businesses with over 300,00 shekels revenue. Source: Ministry of Finance

This package may continue to develop and expand as the war continues.
We will update here as more information becomes available.

Please note: The information above is based on official statements and reliable sources but is subject to change. Verify details independently using the provided links below (in Hebrew):