Automated attendance machines at the Israeli Employment Services (IES) function as a substitute for physically appearing at IES offices. They are used in place of signatures and are meant to make the process more efficient for both IES officials and applicants. If a job is found for an applicant, the machine informs the applicant which IES official s/he should meet with. If there are no jobs found, the applicant is not required to physically go to the official to check in, and can continue to receive unemployment benefits from Social Security- including a subsistence stipend.
The IES offices in Wadi Al-Joz is the only office where the machines are located outside of the office, in an external parking lot. The machines were placed outside in order to alleviate the immense crowding and waiting times inside of the building. However, putting the machines outside created a new problem: the area where the machines are placed is isolated, there is no representative outside who can help applicants use the machines. Furthermore, the applicants can’t report issues with the machines to the office because oftentimes security guards prevent them from coming inside the building without a receipt from the machine. Thus, the simple act of using a machine and receiving a receipt has become an exhausting, complicated, humiliating action that takes a lot of time. In contrast, at the IES office in West Jerusalem, the machines are inside of the office and are serviced by an official who is there to help applicants should issues arise.
Together with the workers’ rights organization, Ma’an, ACRI appealed to the IES office in Wadi Al-Joz and requested that they place an employee near the machines and inform the guards that applicants can come inside the office itself without needing to present a receipt. Additionally, we requested that an official’s phone number be publicized near the machines, so the applicants can call if the guards do not let them inside. Adv. Abir Joubran Dakwar noted that the current situation violates the rights of the applicants to live with dignity and even threatens their rights to receive subsistence stipends.