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Before you Sign a Work Contract in Israel

Judy Feierstein


Let's assume you have found a job, have agreed on your salary, defined your position, and your start date. At that point, to protect yourself, it would be ideal if your new employer would hand you a personal job contract to sign listing all the agreed upon terms. In fact, very few employers bother to do this, although by law employers are required to list your terms of employment within 30 days of hire. Some new hires offer to write this up themselves in cases where the employer has noone in the office to do so. Should your employer hand over a contract to you and say "this is our standard contract", you will need to do your homework and read the document, compare it with what was promised verbally and then negotiate.

True, it is trying to read a contract in Hebrew, even for many Israelis. Many  job contracts mention your obligation "to invest the most of one's time and effort into the job". Be advised: this article is not a replacement for legal consultation, since a trained lawyer who deal with documents will notice certain terms that you will not fully understand. To read up in English on labor law in Israel and find out what is covered by law, click here. The issues that need to be included in a job contract according to the law are specified in the 2002 law "Hodaah Laoved" (which details employment terms). New immigrants are advised to become familiar with this law. Make sure that all the details that appear there appear in the "standard" job contract that you have received. In addition, the following should be noticed:

  1. The employer's identity- The person who signs the contract should be the same person you are working for? If not- what responsibility does "the real employer" have towards you?
  2. Duty definition- What is the task you are supposed to do exactly? Who are you subordinated to? Does the employer have the right to change your job definition or subordination?
  3. Working hours- How many hours are you expected to fill in a week/day? Are you entitled to get paid for additional hours?(although overtime is covered by law, it is best to  spell this out).
  4. Transportation/ cellular phone- What are you entitled to receive? What kind of transportation or phone? Are you allowed to make use of them beyond working hours? Who pays for maintenance and a license? Who bears the taxes included in the benefit? (usually you, the worker, will).
  5. Salary- When is it paid?(Again, the law requires that you be paid by the 9th of the following month, however, it is best to have this in writing.) Should the salary be a combination  of base pay and commission, how is the commission calculated?
  6. Expenses- What part of your traveling expenses are you entitled to get? What about other expenses connected  to executing the job (parking, meals etc.)?
  7. Annual vacation, sickness days, recuperation days- Your rights for these are defined by law. But those rights are minimal, and many times you can bargain with your future employer about them.
  8. Social  benefits- Which ones are you entitled to? (such as keren hishtalmut, manager's insurance, pension plan) Since these are based on your salary, and your salary may include  numerous benefits above your base pay, on which part of your salary are they to be determined? What  percentage  do you have to contribute?  Under  what conditions will you receive these social benefits?
  9. In the agreement, you should try to include a section of "ownership automatic transfer", assuring that in the event of termination of employer-employee relations, the money that has been set aside will move to your ownership.
  10. Working season- How much  notice must you give to quit? How much  advance notice must they give you? The Law of Early Notification of Resignation and Dismissal (2001) clarifies such an arrangement, but as in anything to do with  employment, try to reach an arrangement that benefits you.
  11. Unemployment compensation- Are you entitled, in case of dismissal, to get compensation? You must reach a positive answer concerning this question.
  12. Secrecy- In certain fields (research positions, high tech, consulting companies, sensitive work with security industry, IDF,etc.) you may be asked to sign a form promising that you will adhere to secrecy. Be certain that this  does not apply to any information you had attained previously, or information that has become accessible to the general public, or information that you have received from a third party, or information that you have received as required by the authorities (for instance a court of law). In addition, the duration of time in which you will be required to adhere to this secrecy should be clarified.
  13. Throughout the business agreement, phrases that create uncertainty should be avoided as much as possible,. These include: "as is typical in this line of work" or "as is commonly accepted" or "subject to the employer's judgment". Such phrases reduce the employer's obligation to a minimum.

Written by Career Consultant Judy Feierstein, CEO, Transitions and Resources, Jerusalem


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