Pursuant to Israeli employment law, an employer cannot employ workers on their weekly rest day unless it obtains a special permit from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
A weekly rest is 36 consecutive hours. Under certain circumstances, it is possible to shorten shift workers' weekly rest to 25 consecutive hours.
For Jewish workers, the weekly rest day is Saturday (ie, from the beginning of the Sabbath on Friday evening until Saturday evening). For non-Jewish workers, the weekly rest day is Friday, Saturday or Sunday, as is customary for the employee. Therefore, workplaces that are permitted to operate all week long can employ non-Jewish workers on the Sabbath without violating the law or applying for a permit.
The practical implications of these requirements include the following:
- On commencement of their employment, employees can notify their employer that they will not work on weekly rest days in accordance with their religious beliefs. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees by denying employment on this basis.
- Employees who work on a rest day are entitled to receive 150% of their regular salary.
- Employing workers on their rest day without a permit is a criminal offence, which in certain cases may result in fines for the employer's officers and managers.
This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.