Employers have to accommodate religious workers who arrive late at work due to post-sunrise prayers, and allow them to arrive at work half an hour late, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday.
Many religious workers have been struggling to make it to work on time since the government this year extended daylight saving time until October 27th, in line with accepted practice in most Western countries. This year, toward winter, daylight starts at a later hour, delaying when many religious Jews can conduct their daily prayers.
Under Bennett’s guidelines, workers can come in to work half an hour late, but their employer can require them stay at the end of the day to make up for the lost time.
The later date means the sun has started rising as late as 6:30 or 7:00. Since morning prayers among certain Jewish communities can only be recited after sunrise, many workers have found they cannot pray and make it to work on time.
Bennett the guidelines were important for the praying public, especially during the High Holy Days and that they would not hurt employers. “A clear need arose here that justified an exception to the Work and Rest Hours Law. I am happy that the law enables this flexibility, and grants me the authority to permit Jewish prayer as required by religious law, particularly during these days of soul-searching and prayer,” he said.
According to Bennett’s new guidelines, on days when the sun rises after 6:30, and the workday starts between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, observant workers may use their mandated break time before the workday begins. Employers can in turn require their employee to stay at work for half an hour longer, either on the day they come in late or on another day in the same month.
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