Media Centre

War and the Workplace

13 March 2024

Dear Clients and Friends,

As combat operations continue, we would like to update you regarding the latest developments affecting the workplace, employee rights, and employer obligations.

This update will focus on the following topics and significant changes:

  • Changes relating to limitations on dismissals of individuals in reserve service;
  • Additional days of absence granted to spouses of reservists;
  • Changes regarding accrual of vacation days;
  • Payment to employees who were absent at the beginning of the war;
  • A general permit regarding breaks during the workday.


Limitations on Dismissals of Individuals on Reserve Service, Additional Days of Absence for Spouses of Reservists, and Accrual of Vacation Days

1. In light of the broad callup of reserve units over the months in which the war has been taking place and the effect this can have on household management, on February 4, 2024 a collective agreement was signed between the Presidency of the Business Organizations and the Histadrut trade union. The agreement is effective from the start of the war, October 7, 2023, through December 31, 2024.

2. This agreement was extended through an order of the Minister of Labor on March 5, 2024, such that it applies to all employers and employees in the general economy (apart from public sector employers and employees, to whom a separate collective agreement on the same matter applies). The Extension Order includes the regulation of a series of significant points. Below we list the main points of these significant changes:

3. Limitation on Dismissal of an Employee who Performed Reserve Service

Under the Order, an employee who performed reserve service during the period of its effect, for a period of sixty or more days is protected from dismissal for a period of sixty days after his reserve duty ends (as opposed to the thirty days required by law).

An employer who wishes to dismiss such an employee who performed reserve service for a period of sixty or more days, before the sixty-day protected period has elapsed, must receive a permit to do so.

Please note:

The extension of this protected period was originally part of a “package deal” which also included indemnification for employers due to their obligation to continue making contributions to employee social benefits during their reserve service.

Regarding the indemnification of employers, the Director General of the Ministry of Finance made a written commitment to the Chairman of the Presidency of the Business Organizations that the Ministry of Finance would work to implement the government’s decision on this matter. The proposal under discussion mentioned compensation equaling 20% of the employee’s salary for the period from the outbreak of war until the end of 2024. To date, this commitment has not yet been enshrined in law and has not been implemented.

4. Additional Days of Absence for Spouses of Reservists

In accordance with the Extension Order, those who fit the definition “spouse of reservists” will be entitled to paid days of absence, over and above the law, based on the number of days of reserve duty performed by their spouse, as detailed below:

Accumulated days of reserve service between October 7, 2023 and December 31, 2024 Additional days of paid absence for spouse
Up to 30 0
31-60 2
61-90 4
91-120 6
121 or more 8


Eligibility to this right is reserved for a spouse of individuals serving in the reserves, in cases where the couple has at least one child under the age of 14, or a child up to the age of 18 suffering from a malignant illness or undergoing dialysis treatment; or where the spouse of the reservist is the sole caregiver for a disabled relative; or where the reservist or his spouse has a parent who ill is as defined in the law dealing with absence due to a parent’s illness.

The days absence can be utilized for the supervision and care of a child; for the care or supervision of a relative who fits one of the aforementioned categories; as an extension of a Birth and Parenting Period (maternity leave); for required household management and maintenance tasks which can only be carried out during work hours; or for other reasons requiring an absence, as coordinated with the employer.

The Extension Order includes instructions regarding the handling of absences taken before the Order came into force.

Please note:

  • Absences allowed under the Order may be utilized only at times the spouse is serving his reserve duty, and not before or after that time.
  • Absences can also be utilized partially, as hours of absence.
  • Any such entitlement not utilized before the end of 2024 cannot be redeemed or accrued after that period.
  • The value of a day of absence is equal to the value of the employee’s salary on a vacation day.
  • If the absence is required to care for an ill family member, the absence is conditioned on the presentation of a medical certificate, adjacent to the time of the absence.
  • In cases where the spouse of a reservist has an annual vacation allowance that exceeds 35 days (not including sick leave), the quota of absence days will be half of that specified in the table, and absence days will only be permitted to be utilized for the purpose of care for and supervision of an ill family member.
  • We suggest seeking individualized advice regarding the application of this entitlement, and its utilization.


5. Alleviations Relating to the Time the Spouse of a Reservist is Absent

During the period in which the Extension Order applies (through the end of 2024), the entitlement to an hour’s absence during the working day under the conditions currently set out in the Employment of Women Law, 1954 (including the condition that the couple has a child up to the age of 13) will also apply when the spouse is employed in a full-time job split between different employers.

The scope of eligibility will be determined by how the job is divided between the employers, and subject to the presentation of a document stating the actual scope of position at each employer.

6. Accrual of Vacation Days for Reservists

In line with the Extension Order, over the course of the period it is in force, an employee may accrue his vacation days even without the approval of the employer and add those vacation days to those he will be entitled to for the next two years, provided that certain conditions are met, including, that during the period of validity of the Order the employee is absent for at least five consecutive days due to his service.

The Order includes other events which, if they should occur, the right to accrue vacation days will exist: if the employer gave no vacation to the employee; if the employee was absent due to the circumstances listed in Section 2 of the Law for Protection of Workers in Times of Emergency; where the employee was called up to service or employed at his workplace under the Law of Work at Times of Emergency; or, where the employee is employed under an overtime work permit given or established as a result of the emergency.


Payment to Employees who were Absent in the Early Days of the War

1. As we have previously updated you, the property tax and compensation fund regulations published in November 2023 dealt with, among other matters, payment of compensation to employers for, among other things, wages they paid to their employees at the beginning of the war.

2. The collective agreement signed between the Presidency of the Business Organizations and the Histadrut trade union on January 11, 2024 dealt with regulating payment for employees who were absent from their workplace. This agreement was extended through an order of the Minister of Labor on March 5, 2024 such that it applies to all employers and employees (apart from public sector employers and employees, to whom a separate collective agreement on the same matter applies).

3. The Extension Order deals with the payments due for the period between October 7, 2023 and October 31, 2023.

For this period, the employer must pay its employees’ wages, including social benefits, for days of absence, so long as one of the following conditions, as listed in the Extension Order, are met:

  • The employee lives in a locality that was evacuated as a result of a government order.
  • The employee is employed in an educational institute that was closed as a result of the decision regarding closures of educational institutions at that time.
  • The employee was absent so as to be able to supervise his child (up to the age of 14, or an older child with special needs) who was under his care due to the closure of educational institutions in various areas at that time; this applies in cases where the child was under the employee’s sole care, or the employee’s spouse was not absent from their place of work or business to care for the child.
  • The employee was absent due to an instruction forbidding gatherings.
  • The employee is disabled and his place of work or residence is defined as a “designated area” in the regulations, and his disabilities keep him from being present at such workplace; or the employee is a relative of someone with a disability, and the employee must remain with that relative (only if no other family member is absent for that purpose).


4. The salary that will be paid to an eligible employee as a result of an absence during this period is the salary that such employee would have received had he worked on the day he was absent (without additions such as one-time payments, annual payments, overtime compensation, payments for shifts and standbys, expense reimbursements and tax gross ups, gifts for holidays, etc.). This is subject to a cap of NIS 1,510 per day.

5. Please note:

  • Employees who worked for partial days will be entitled to a partial payment in proportion to the amount of time they were absent that day.
  • Part-time employees will be entitled to partial payment in proportion to their salary.
  • Employers that paid their employees for their period of absence are required to complete such payment up to the amount for which they are eligible under the Extension Order. No double payment shall be made, and so long as the payment made to the employees covers their entitlement under the Order, the employer will not be required to make any further payment to the employee.
  • If an employee was placed on unpaid leave but would have been entitled to payment for the period of absence if he had not been placed on unpaid leave, he is entitled to payment for the days of absence, up to the amount of indemnity that the employer will receive for the employee, and subject to the calculation settled upon in this matter between the National Insurance Institute and the Tax Authority.


6. Note for public sector employers: On December 27, 2023 a collective agreement was signed which regulates the issue of the payment of wages for employees of a number of public sector entities for the period from the date of the outbreak of war through November 30, 2023. Other employers in the public sector were given the option to join this collective agreement.

Employers to whom this agreement applies are required to follow it.


General Permit: Breaks During the Workday

1. On February 20, 2024, the Minister of Labor published a general permit regarding breaks during the workday. This was done in view of the prevailing situation in the labor market, with the backdrop of the extensive recruitment of workers for reserve service. This reality points to difficulties that arise in continuous workdays, especially in the case of spouses of reservists.

2. Under usual circumstances, in the course of a workday of six hours or more, an employee must be given a break of at least 45 minutes, including one consecutive break of at least half an hour. In addition to rules regarding the minimum amount of break time an employer is required to give an employee, there is also a limit in that a break shall not exceed three hours in length.

3. Under the permit signed by the Minister of Labor, it is possible for an employe to work intermittently during the workday, even taking a break exceeding three hours. In this manner, the employee will be able to complete the work hours he missed due to constraints arising from the absence of his spouse or the other parent of his child due to the state of emergency.

4. An employee is entitled to request to work under the rules of this permit if his spouse or the other parent of his child serves in either regular military or reserve service; if his spouse or the other parent of his child is called up to labor service under the law; if he is a police officer, prison guard, Security Agency or Mossad employee, or member of an aid or rescue organization; if he is a family member of a hostage or missing person; or if he or his spouse or other parent of his child were evacuated from their place of residence.

5. The employee’s request for non-continuous employment of this type is conditional on the employer’s consent, that is, to ensure that the work output will not be negatively affected, bearing in mind that some forms of work, for example work performed in shifts, may not be able to be carried out in such a flexible manner.

6. This permit will remain valid through the end of the period for which the Temporary Order attached to the Law for Protection of Workers in Times of Emergency is valid. The Temporary Order has currently had its validity extended through July 1, 2024.

7. Please note: This permit does not change the provisions of the law regarding the question of what are considered working hours, nor those regarding compensation for overtime work.



We recommend approaching us for individually tailored advice regarding the applicability and implementation of the various changes listed in this update.

We will continue to keep you updated and remain in your service,

Labour Law Department

Herzog Fox & Neeman

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