Omicron is taking control of the labor market in Israel. Many employees are stuck at home in quarantine (or are ill). At the same time, there is still plenty of work. As a result, and in order to enable the Israeli economy to contend with the drastic drop in the number of available employees in the labor market, the government issued a new special permit on January 16, 2022, extending permitted overtime hours

How many permitted overtime hours are there?

According to the permit, employers may ask employees to work no more than 25 overtime hours per week (and, together with regular work hours, up to 67 hours per week). In any given month, employers may ask employees to work no more than 90 hours of overtime. This is a significant expansion of the volume of overtime hours in the economy. For the sake of comparison, until the granting of the new permit, employers could ask employees to work a maximum of 16 hours of overtime per week.

Has the permitted length of the workday changed in the economy?

No. A workday must not exceed 12 hours. However, within the scope of the permit, an employer can ask an employee to work 14 hours per day, including overtime hours. This is limited to not more than eight times per month. Employers must also provide a 15-minute break to the employee between the 12th and 14th hour in such a workday, without derogating from each employee’s statutory rights to breaks.

Are there restrictions on employers who employ more than 20 employees?

Yes. The temporary order’s starting assumption is that major employers can channel work with greater efficiency. Therefore, in order for the temporary order to apply to them, they must fulfill preconditions. Any employer with more than 20 employees may ask employees to work pursuant to the above conditions only if it fulfills one of the following preconditions:

At least 20% of the company’s workforce are absent from work under circumstances not dependent upon the employer and the work cannot be performed by existing employees unless they work overtime. (For the purposes of this precondition, the “workforce” is the average workforce as reported to the National Insurance Institute between October and December 2021.) The workplace includes employees working in shifts and more than 20% of the shift employees were absent under circumstances not dependent upon the employer and the work cannot be performed at the same output except by employees during that same shift.

Does the permit apply to all employers in the economy?

No. The permit will not apply to employers in the following sectors:

  • Public transportation
  • Trucking and delivery
  • Passenger transport
  • Construction
  • Infrastructure
  • Heavy equipment
  • Public service
  • Renovations

Does the permit have an expiration date?

Yes. The permit is time-limited and will expire on February 14, 2022.

Should employers take additional considerations into account when implementing the permit?

When employing employees under the new permit, employers should consider the unique needs of the workplace. They should consider the welfare, occupational safety, and personal needs of the employees in the workplace during this period.