Could I Have the Bill?

Not all Israeli waiters get the opportunity to train at a prestigious restaurant. The training undergone by servers at cafes generally lasts from a few hours to a few days; such waiters earn around NIS 35 an hour, working long shifts that last about eight hours. At medium-priced restaurants, the waiters train for about a week and after that earn NIS 45-50 per hour, working eight-hour shifts.

In 2007, a law was passed forbidding employers from calculating tips as part of the pay earned by restaurant and cafe workers. This law obliges the employer to pass the tips on to employees, in addition to paying them minimum wage. However, the pay at restaurants and cafes in Israel is generally based on tips alone; the establishments don't pay their waiters a basic wage, but will rather make up the difference of a certain amount per shift if the waiter does not earn that amount in tips. ("And that never happens," according to senior people in the industry. )

According to Ronen Arditi, director-general of the restaurant, cafe and bar owners association in Israel, "Every waiter is a company worker and therefore is supposed to receive all the benefits coming to workers in Israel."