Introduction
Birth and parenting period leave
Unpaid leave after childbirth
Parenting hour
Resignation for childcare
Absence due to child's illness
Parent of person with disability


Introduction

In recent years, there has been a global trend towards adjusting the labour market to meet the needs of families. The idea of a family-friendly work environment is becoming increasingly popular and, as a result, it has become more common to allow fathers to be more involved in raising children and to create a balance between working hours and family time.

In July 2016, the Women's Labour Law was amended, and a father's right to paternity leave was established. Accordingly, a father may be absent from work for up to five days from the day after the date of birth of his child:

  • The first three days of absence are considered to be annual leave. If no days of leave are due to the employee, the right of absence will be considered to be unpaid leave.
  • Two additional days of absence are considered to be sick days. The days of absence will be considered to be the second and third days of the employee's illness, which means 50% of the salary will be paid according to the law.

This article presents an overview of the other main rights granted to fathers in the workplace.

Birth and parenting period leave

In accordance with the Women's Work Law, the length of maternity leave is:

  • 26 weeks for employees who have been employed at the workplace for one year or more; and
  • 15 weeks for employees who have been employed for less than one year.

The term "maternity leave" used in Women's Labour Law was changed to "birth and parenting period" several years ago.

A father may take part of the birth and parenting period as leave if his spouse:

  • utilises the first six weeks following the birth;
  • is entitled to maternity leave and has agreed in writing to forego some of the maternity leave to which she is entitled; and
  • worked during this period.

A father may take the entire birth and parenting period as leave (ie, even prior to six weeks after the birth) if the child is under his exclusive care because of his spouse's disability or illness. A father's birth and parenting period may not exceed 15 weeks where:

  • his spouse has worked with an employer for at least 12 months; and
  • he has worked with the same employer or in the same job for less than 12 months.

Between 2008 and 2018, there was a continuous increase in the number of men who exercised their right to take leave during the birth and parenting period, from 281 men in 2008 to 1,266 in 2018.(1)

Unpaid leave after childbirth

A father will be entitled to unpaid leave after the birth and parenting period if:

  • his spouse was employed for at least six months before his absence from work due to his departure for unpaid leave; and
  • the child is under his sole care because of his spouse's disability or illness.

In cases where one of the spouses is absent from work for unpaid leave, the other spouse will not also be able to use unpaid leave. However, if one of the spouses is absent for a shorter period that that to which they are entitled under law, their spouse may be absent from work for the remainder of the period permitted by law.

The unpaid leave period to which a father is entitled is a quarter of the number of months he worked before the date of birth, but no more than 12 months from the date of birth.

Parenting hour

A mother may be absent from work after the end of maternity leave for four months from that day, for one hour a day, with no deduction of her salary, if she is employed full time as is customary in the workplace or in a position that requires at least 174 hours of work per month.

The father may also exercise the right for a "parenting hour", alone or alternately with his spouse, under the following conditions:

  • His spouse agreed that the right to a parenting hour will be exercised by the father, or alternately between the spouses.
  • Each of the spouses gave a statement to their employer at least 21 days before the end of the birth and parenting period (the text of the statement appears in the appendix to the law). If such a statement is delivered later, a father will be entitled to exercise his right 21 days after the delivery of the statement.
  • Each of the spouses lists, in a statement, the number of days and the specific days of the work week in which they will exercise their parenting hour.
  • The mother and her employer and the father and his employer may agree between themselves, as necessary and on a case-by-case basis, on the exercise of the right to a parenting hour at a different time than that provided in the statement.
  • A permanent change in the exercise of parenting time may be made with an additional declaration 21 days in advance. Where at least one of the spouses works shifts, such a declaration must be made one month in advance.

If one of the spouses works shifts or in the hotel industry, the spouse may exercise the parenting hour alternately, so that each spouse exercises the right for a parenting hour for a specified period that is not less than three weeks each. The employee who works shifts may reach an agreement with their employer on a different distribution alternately for shorter periods of time. For this purpose, "shift work" is defined as work in which the daily work quota is at least 20 hours, divided into at least two shifts

Resignation for childcare

A father may resign within nine months of birth for childcare reasons if:

  • employee-employer relations existed between the spouse and employer at least six months ahead of his resignation;
  • the child is under his exclusive care because of a disability or illness of his spouse; or
  • his spouse was self-employed for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the date of birth and did not stop her business.

Absence due to child's illness

A father may be absent due to the illness of a child under 16 years of age for up to eight days a year at the expense of his accrued sick days if his spouse is not absent from her work. Where the employee is a single parent or a parent who has sole custody of the child, he may be absent for up to 16 days a year.

If the child is ill with a serious illness (ie, a malignant illness or an illness for which permanent dialysis treatment is required) and is under 18 years old, and the employee has worked for the same employer for at least a year, he will be entitled to be absent up to 90 days a year due to the child's illness, at the expense of a quota of his sick days or at the expense of the annual vacation days to which he is entitled, according to the employee's choice. If the child is in the sole custody of the employee, or when his spouse works and is not absent from work by virtue of this entitlement, his right will be to 110 days a year accordingly.

In calculating the number of days of absence, the days of absence to which an employee is entitled due to "normal child illness" for that child are also included.

When the couple is absent intermittently due to the illness of their child, the payment will be made according to a certificate of the child's illness and the days thereof, and not according to the days of the parent's absence.

Parent of person with disability

An employee who is the father of a person with a disability and who has worked for the same employer or in the same workplace for at least a year will be entitled to use up to 18 days of absence per year, at the expense of the period of his sick days or at the expense of the vacation days due to him, at the employee's choice, for the purpose of providing personal assistance to the disabled child.

An employee is entitled to an additional 18 days of absence per year where:

  • his spouse works and is not absent from work entitlement;
  • his spouse is a self-employed worker who is not absent from her business or has not stopped practicing her trade for the purpose of providing personal assistance;
  • the employee is a single parent; or
  • the person with a disability is in his sole care.

As above, in calculating the number of days of absence, the days of absence to which an employee is entitled due to "normal child illness" for that child are also included.

An employee who is absent, as detailed above, is entitled to use partial days of absence. Employees who are absent under these circumstances are entitled to full sick pay starting from the first day of absence.

In addition to the quota of days stated above, the law establishes an additional quota of hours of absence per year, which does not depend on the number of accrued sick or vacation days. An employee who is a parent of a person with a disability and who has worked for at least a year at the same employer or at the same workplace is entitled to be absent for up to 52 hours a year for the purpose of providing personal assistance that requires absence, without deduction from their salary. In various circumstances, the employee will be entitled to be absent for an 52 additional hours per year without deduction from their salary if there was no other person who took advantage of their right to be absent. The right to be absent without deduction from the salary is also granted to part-time employees in proportion to the scope of their job.

For further information on this topic please contact Hilit Cohen-Resnizky at Efrat Deutsch & Co by telephone (+972-3-6096960‚Äč) or email ([email protected]). The Efrat Deutsch & Co website can be accessed at www.edz-law.co.il.

Endnotes

(1) "Men's parental rights in Israel", the Knesset's Research and Information Centre, 10 October 2019.