Client Update – Tightening of the Third Lockdown
7 January 2021
Dear Clients and Colleagues,
Due to the continued rise in infection rates, as a result of the spread of Covid-19, the Israeli government has decided to tighten the lockdown imposed less than two weeks ago, and harshen the restrictions imposed by virtue thereof, as detailed in our previous client update.
Accordingly, a Temporary Order was enacted, whereby, subject to the confirmation of the Knesset’s Constitution committee, as of midnight between the 7th and 8th of January, 2021, the normal working activity at many workplaces will be significantly restricted.
Please find below a short summary of the main new restrictions:
1. The rule set forth in the previous Temporary Order, whereby most workplaces may permit the attendance of up to 50% of the workforce, has been cancelled. According to the new rule, employees may not attend the workplace.
2. There are certain exceptions to the new rule, as follows:
- The main exception refers to workplaces in the fields of activities listed in the Second Appendix to the Regulations Restricting Activity at Workplaces.
This list of fields (similar to that of the workplaces excluded from the restrictions imposed on workplaces during the September – October 2020 lockdown, with minor changes), includes, among other things, the financial sector; health; optics and pharma; energy and water; food and beverages; moving and storing services; agriculture; toiletries; cleaning and cosmetics; ports and shipping; transportation; media / communications; cyber and data protection; environmental protection; deliveries and couriers; Preferred Enterprises, as defined in Section 51 of the Law for Encouragement of Capital Investments; taxation; the provision of services or products required for the normal continued operations of the fields of activities listed in the Appendix; and more.
These workplaces may permit attendance of employees (with no limitation), provided that the attendance is required in order to provide the service or product.
- Additional exceptions include enterprises for the provision of existential services (as defined in the Emergency Labour Services Law); workplaces with a special permit to employ employees during rest periods, granted in order to avoid harming their work processes (at which it is possible to permit the attendance of the number of employees, as stated on the permit, or 30% of the workforce, the higher of the two); workplaces that are engaged in the field of construction or infrastructure (that work outdoors); and additional specific exclusions, including defense enterprises as well as public and educational institutions; as well as companies that meet the conditions of a “Preferred Technological Enterprise”, according to Section 51 of the Law for Encouragement of Capital Investments, where the attendance of their employees is required for the maintenance and operations of the Companies’ systems.
3. In addition to these exceptions, the Temporary Order states that every workplace may permit attendance of employees, where such attendance is required for the maintenance of the workplace or the urgent repair of a defect, in order to safeguard the integrity of the workplace; to safeguard the workplace; to perform deliveries; for the payment of salaries; any employee whose attendance is necessary for the continued functional activity of the workplace; and attendance in order to retrieve equipment, perform necessary work required in order to provide a vital service or product to a client or to ensure the ability of other employees to work from home.
4. In relation to employee attendance of the workplace, the “purple seal” rules shall continue to apply, as in effect to date, and as detailed in our previous update. Professional meetings at the workplace may take place with a maximum of 10 participants (a reduction in comparison to the previously permitted amount of 50 participants).
5. At this stage, the Temporary Order and the current restrictions shall be in effect until January 21, 2021.
6. As was the case, under previous rounds of restrictions, there is no formal requirement to display an employer or other approval, in order to enable employees to travel to the workplace.
7. Employers seeking to examine whether their employees may attend the workplace, and if so, the permitted scope and circumstances of such attendance, are welcome to reach out to us to obtain specific advice.
As always, we are at your disposal for any questions or assistance regarding the new restrictions and their effect on the workplace.
The Labour and Employment Department
Herzog Fox & Neeman