The lockdown entered inְto effect on September 25, 2020, at 14:00, and is expected to continue until October 10, 2020. It is possible at the end of this period the lockdown will be extended. We have prepared an in-depth update for employers on the relevant topics.
Is it possible to continue to employ workers during the lockdown period?
The answer varies according to the employer’s or employee’s type of activity. As a general rule, an employer may not allow an employee to arrive at the workplace unless one of the following applies:
• The employer is an enterprise for the provision of essential services as defined in the Emergency Employment Service Law.
• The workplace has a special permit to employ workers during the weekly rest hours, which is granted so as not to impair the work process. In such case, the employer is able to employ up to 30% of the total number of employees or the number of employees allowed in the permit (whichever is higher).
• The workplace handles construction or infrastructure works that do not include gathering in a closed structure. In this case, it is possible to employ up to 100% of staff. A closed structure is a structure in which 70% of the number of doors and windows have been installed.
• The work is conducted, amongst the rest, in the following workplaces: stores in the fields of food, pharma, or optics; stores that sell hygiene products; stores that sell homecare products; stores that sell communication products or computers, or that perform computer repair; a workplace open to public visits in order to provide an essential service; social welfare organizations; and places used for competitive sports training, provided these activities are permitted under parallel regulations, and the regulations enabling the activities of certain educational institutions.
• The workplace falls under the list specified in the lockdown regulations, provided the workers employed are necessary for the supply of the product or service. For your convenience, here are a few examples from the list of workplaces outlined in the regulations:
• Security and protection.
• Telephone service centers.
• Services that support the calculation and payment of wages.
• Delivery and couriers.
• Health services, optics, and pharma.
• Construction and infrastructure support.
• Establishments whose cessation of activity may cause great harm to the economy and that are deemed a “preferred enterprise” as defined in section 51 of the Encouragement of Capital Investments Law.
In addition, we note that workplaces that support the above types of activity and provide services or products required for the continuation of the above activities may also continue to operate.
Is it possible to hire workers for regular maintenance, deliveries, and support for working from home?
Yes. An employer may employ an employee to maintain the workplace or repair a defect urgently required for its maintenance, make deliveries, and complete payroll, as well as an employee whose arrival is necessary to continue the functional operation of the workplace and to reach the workplace to pick up equipment. The employer may also employ an employee to perform work for the purpose of providing an essential service to a client, including maintaining the ability of other employees to work from home.
What about the purple tag rules? Are they still applicable?
Yes. Employers who are allowed to operate must continue to comply with the purple tag rules. This includes appointing a coronavirus point person, placing appropriate signage, allocating as much personal equipment as possible, creating office pods, measuring employee temperatures, ensuring employees eat and drink separately, and more.
Will special transit permits be issued for this period?
To our understanding, no such permits will be given. This is based on the assumption that citizens can move from place to place even if they are not essential workers.
Are employees allowed to work from home?
We note that despite the aforementioned, Jewish workers may still not be employed during the weekly rest and holiday hours without a special permit. However, on holiday eve, before the Sabbath, and after the Sabbath, it is possible to employ workers from home as usual, provided they have been given a weekly rest of 36 hours that includes from the beginning of the Sabbath (or holiday) until its conclusion. Weekly rest hours should be maintained, of course, with respect to non-Jewish employees.
What is the exposure of an employer who allows work in violation of the above?
Violating these guidelines is a criminal offense, liable to imprisonment or a fine.