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Public servants forbidden from heading straight into the private sector after leaving the government service would receive a salary throughout their "cooling-off period," under a Finance Ministry proposal.

Senior public servants are often required to sit out of the work force for up to a year, depending on their position, in order to avoid conflicts of interest that could occur when, for example, a former regulator becomes a lobbyist pressuring his or her former employees to take action on behalf of a client.

Currently, senior public officials are entitled to three month's pay after departing, on top of pay for unused vacation days. The new proposal would increase the maximum paid "time out" to a year.

The ministers are scheduled to discuss the proposal today. It was drafted by temporary Finance Ministry Director General Doron Cohen. Cohen wants the finance minister and justice minister to set up a public committee to discuss the plan.

Cohen believes it inappropriate for public servants to determine their own post-departure compensation, since they could benefit from it someday.

Currently, the attorney general's office is drafting regulations determining cooling-off periods for public servants depending on their seniority, authority and other factors. This would reduce the uncertainty facing state employees and shorten the process of handling their resignations.

By law, state employees are forbidden from receiving any benefit - including a job - from any person or body who needed their services while working for the government for up to a year after they leave the public service.

The Trajtenberg committee drafting recommendations for social reform recommended setting clear ethics policies for state employees, including clear rules for a post-employment time out. It also called for paying appropriate compensation to former employees banned from working in their field.

Transportation Minister Katz has said he supports imposing a three-year time-out policy for Finance Ministry workers seeking to work for private companies.