Labor Law- An Important Update for Employers

Barnea Jaffa Lande & Co.

There have been a few recent updates to statutory provisions and administrative procedures regarding employees and employers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are the main points: 

  1. The Supreme Court Repeals Mandatory Sick Pay for Employees in Quarantine

In a decision handed down on 27.7.2020, the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, repealed an order given on 4.2.2020 by Prof. Sigal Sadetzki, former Head of Public Health Services in the Ministry of Health, which gave a sweeping sick certificate or doctor’s note to any employee in quarantine for fear of exposure to COVID-19.

According to the decision, the Sick Pay Law, 5736-1976, does not authorize the Ministry of Health to issue a sweeping sick certificate that requires employers to give employees paid sick leave.

As such, from 30.9.2020, the date on which the repeal enters into effect, employers will not be required to issue payment to employees in quarantine who are not, themselves, sick. Employees infected with COVID-19 who present an appropriate medical certificate will still be eligible for paid sick leave, similar to any other absence due to illness.

  1. Employment Incentive Grants for Employers

Following legislation of the Employment Promotion Grant Law last month, and our update on the subject, we’d like to remind employers that they are eligible for monthly grants meant to incentivize hiring new or previous employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can find the main points regarding the law in our previous update here.

In the meantime, the Israeli Employment Service’s website has been updated, and you may now submit grant requests online.

Please note – employers must submit requests no later than 60 days following the end of the month for which a grant is requested.

  1. Employees Furloughed as a Result of COVID-19 Continue to be Eligible for Unemployment Benefits, and the Furlough Eligibility Period Has Been Shortened

According to announcements from the National Insurance Institute, eligibility for unemployment benefits has been extended to 30.6.2021 for individuals who fall into one of the following categories:

  • Individuals whose eligibility for unemployment ended on or after 1.3.2020, or
  • Individuals whose eligibility for unemployment ended before 1.3.2020, and who stopped working between 1.3.2020-30.6.2021, or
  • Individuals whose eligibility for unemployment ended in January or February 2020

Extension of unemployment eligibility and continued payment of benefits will be automatic for those who received unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak (beginning on 1.3.2020 and at any point thereafter). There is no need to submit a new request for unemployment eligibility or benefits, even if the unemployment year has ended.

Please note – for those receiving unemployment benefits, benefits will not be recalculated during the entire period (through 30.6.2021), even if the individual begins a new job at a lower pay scale and is then subsequently dismissed or furloughed.

Additionally, according to announcements from the National Insurance Institute, from 1.8.2020, furloughed employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits if the furlough is for a period of at least 14 days (instead of 30 days).

  1. Worker’s Compensation

An employee infected with COVID-19 as a result of workplace transmission can be recognized as having a workplace illness and receive payment for the days in which he or she did not work as a result of such (subject to submission of a claim for worker’s compensation to the National Insurance Institute). Additionally, if the employee was left with any degree of disability as a result of the disease, he or she may be eligible for disability payments accordingly.

Please note – employees required to quarantine because of exposure to an infected individual, but who are not sick themselves, are not considered as having sustained a workplace illness.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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