Further to our previous updates on the matter, we wish to advise you regarding three significant developments that have taken place over the past few days, in relation to, the shortening of the work week in the market and overtime hours of work, as follows:
1. An Extension Order regarding the Shortening of the Work week in the market has been Signed Last Thursday (March 15, 2018), the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Social Services, Mr. Haim Katz, signed an Extension Order regarding the shortening of the work week in the market, in accordance with the Collective Agreements Law, 1957 (the "Extension Order"). The Extension Order was signed in direct relation to the General Collective Agreement, for the shortening of the work week in the market, which was entered into between the Presidium of Business Organizations (which includes the Manufacturers' Association and a list of bodies representing various employers in the commercial sector) and the New General Workers' Union (the Histadrut). The Extension Order was published in the Official Publications on March 19, 2018, and will enter into force on April 1, 2018.
For your convenience, these are the main provisions that have been extended within the Extension Order:
(1) The scope of the work week shall be shortened by one hour, from 43 hours of work per week to 42 hours. The shortening of the work week will be reflected by the decrease of one hour of work, on a pre-determined day of the week. This day will be determined by the employer, according to its needs, and insofar as possible, taking into account the employees' requests and needs.
(2) An employee who is required to perform work during the decreased hour on the shortened workday, due to the employer's business needs, shall be entitled to receive overtime payment in return for such hour.
(3) Employees, who prior to the entry into force of the Extension Order, worked 42 hours or less per week, shall not be entitled to an increase in their salary or any other change in the terms of their employment due to the shortening of the work week by virtue of the Extension Order.
(4) In accordance with the shortening of the work week, the hourly salary rate shall be calculated on the basis of 182 hours of work per month (rather than the current calculation, which is based on 186 monthly hours).
(5) In workplaces in which the work is performed in shifts, the shifts shall be determined in accordance with the employer's needs, taking into account the shortening of the work week.
(6) The provisions of the Extension Order shall not derogate from any agreements or beneficial arrangements which may exist in certain workplaces, on the eve of its signing.
2. Amendment No. 17 to the Hours of Work and Rest Law, 2018, has been published
On March 13, 2018, Amendment No. 17 to the Hours of Work and Rest Law, 2018, was published in the Official Publications, in the scope of which a number of changes were made to the Hours of Work and Rest Law, 1951. Please note that in accordance with the amendment to Section 22 of the Law, employers may require employees to perform night work, for one week every two weeks. Prior to this amendment, employers were only permitted to require employees to perform night work for one week every three weeks. This is of course an important and relevant amendment for many employers.
3. A General Permit for the performance of work during Overtime Hours has been signed
On March 14, 2018, the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Social Services, Mr. Haim Katz, signed a new General Permit for the performance of work during overtime hours (the "Permit"), which was published in the Official Publications on March 19, 2018. The Permit determines the following important matters:
(1) In any given work week, an employee will not perform more than 16 overtime hours (rather than 15).
(2) If an employee performs night work, the length of the work week shall not exceed 58 hours, including overtime hours. We recommend that employers make the necessary arrangements in preparation for the entry into force of these amendments. Such preparations may include the examination of the structure of working hours in their organization, the configuration of pay slips and employment agreements and the calculation of social benefits which are salary based (such as annual leave and sick leave).
The above mentioned amendments obviously raise many complicated questions, which may vary between employers, taking into account the nature and method of employment at each workplace.