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Full Unemployment Benefits for “Summer Layoffs”

© Aaron Amat |

In the State of Israel, there is a widespread unacceptable practice of laying off or releasing educators employed by private or semi-private institutions (as opposed to educators directly employed by the Ministry of Education) on unpaid leave, along with educators who work in after-school programs. During a typical year, these educators are entitled to receive unemployment benefits throughout this period, in accordance with the criteria for eligibility. This year, these educators were released from their employment on unpaid leave when education systems were closed amid the coronavirus crisis, which compromised their entitlement to unemployment benefits and potentially left them without any income whatsoever during the summer.

As a part of the Workers' Rights Forum, ACRI joined partner organizations in submitting an appeal to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services to legislate adjustments that would minimize harm to these workers, as was done in the summer of 2020. Attorneys Amit Kobo-Rom, of the Israel Women’s Network, and Tamar Ben Dror, of Itach Maaki - Women Lawyers for Social Justice, requested an extension for the period of entitlement for laid off employees’ unemployment benefits. Alternatively, they also requested a stipulation that the period during which they were released for unpaid leave amid the coronavirus crisis will not compromise the number of days of unemployment to which they are entitled; thus affording them unemployment for periods under 30 days. The hope is that educators laid off or placed on unpaid leave for the summer will continue to be entitled to full unemployment benefits through the end of the Tishrei holiday period.

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