Text size

What happened to NIS 600 million that disappeared from government employees' salaries? Two workers want to know, and they're filing a class-action suit in an attempt to get the money back.

At issue is a 2009 decision to halve state workers' convalescence payments to create a fund for businesses in distress. The payments were cut, but the fund was never created.

On Tuesday, the two employees, one a nurse at the Clalit health care organization and the other a teacher at a Na'amat school, petitioned a court to recognize their suit as a class action.

The petition states that in 2008, after the global financial crisis began, the government met with private employers and the Histadrut labor federation and decided to set up the fund at the expense of half of public servants' convalescence payments in 2009 and 2010.

Thus, in June 2009, a law was passed stating that public servants would receive only half these payments during the summer months. Yet while state employees' salaries were indeed docked, the fund was never created in keeping with an economic efficiency law. So the money never served its intended purpose, according to the petition.

That economic efficiency law also stated that private-sector employers would dock employees the equivalent of a half day's vacation and put that money in the fund, too. But that part of the law never was carried out.

Since the government did not use the money as intended, it must return it to the employees, the petition reads.

The court gave the state 30 days to respond.