Last week, amidst all the chaos that engulfed our small country, numerous questions were raised about employment: There is a war on; do I have to go to work? I want to stay with my children; will I be fired if I do so? I am frightened to travel to work; what do I do? My employer wants me to take enforced vacation; what are my rights?
THERE IS A WAR ON! DO I HAVE TO GO TO WORK?
Can I be fired if I don’t come to work because of a decision by the Home Front Command?
In accordance with the law (Employee Protection Act 2006), an employer is prohibited from firing employees who are absent from their workplace as a result of instructions given by the authorities due to the existence of a special situation in the home front.
Can an employer oblige me to come to work if I work in an essential factory or a factory providing essential services?
Employees in an essential factory or a factory providing essential services are required to report to work in an emergency. They are not entitled to take vacation at their own expense during this period, except with the approval of the employer and for the period approved by the employer. There are certain places of work, for example, hospitals, banks, and factories, that are required to carry on working during a time of war.
The Home Front Command says that I can go to work and I am not in a dangerous zone, but I am still frightened and do not want to go to work. Can I be fired?
If the Home Front Command does not prohibit travel to the workplace, and the employee nevertheless chooses to be absent from a place of work, the employee will be subject to the policy of the workplace and even can be fired. However, it is recommended that you contact your employer to explain the situation and come to an agreement.
I am so traumatized by the situation that I cannot work. Will I be fired if I don’t go to work?
There is no clear answer here, but again, there should be some form of communication with your place of work. You can also refer to your family doctor and obtain the relevant authorization to use your sick days.
Is it OK to work from home?
If your employer agrees that you can work from home, then you can do so. If your employer does not agree, then you are required to go to your place of employment. Just check that the Home Front Command has given the OK for you to go to work.
Can your employer force you to take vacation days?
If for any reason your employer wants all employees to take vacation days because the business is closed, for example, a restaurant, the law allows this. Enforced vacation up to 7 days is permitted, after which they have to pay your salary.
Can my employer make me take חל”ת, vacation days without payment?
Your employer cannot force you to do so. Your agreement is required – the decision is yours.
There is no shelter or Ma’madsafe room (“mamad”) at work. Am I still required to go to work?
You need to ask the Home Front Command what you should do. If they say that it is OK, you are required to go to work. If they say that you need to stay at home, you cannot be fired for doing so.
Due to the situation, the employer wants to change your position or decrease the hours that you are working. Are they allowed to do so?
No, they cannot do this without your consent. They cannot fire you if you do not agree to do so. Again, the decision is yours.
Is it permissible to fire an employee who received a call up (Tzav 8 ) and was recruited into the reserves?
The Veterans Law (Return to Work) states that it is forbidden to fire an employee due to service in the reserves, following a call up to reserve duty or due to expected service in reserve duty. A person who has been called up may not be fired due to the length of the reserve duty or its frequency. In addition, the law prohibits firing an employee for any reason, during time spent in the reserves.
I want to stay at home with my kids.
An employee may miss work following the closure of a school brought about by a Home Front Command decision only if the employee is the child’s sole parent, their partner is on active duty, or the employee acts as the child’s only guardian. The definition of a child is up to the age of 14, or up to the age of 21 for children in special education.
I am stuck abroad; what are my rights?
It is highly recommended to update your place of work about your predicament. Whether vacation days are deducted will be up to the discretion of your employer. However, they are not allowed to fire you. The law is unclear here, since we have never been in a situation.
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I PRAY THAT ALL OUR DEAR ONES COME HOME SAFELY AND THE WAR IS ENDED SWIFTLY AND SUCCESSFULLY