The gifts employers give their workers for Passover are evidently no yardstick for the state of the economy. Companies are spending about 10% more on gifts to employees this Passover than last year, despite signs of economic slowdown.
Employees at the Dead Sea Works, a unit of Israel Chemicals, led the table last year and this. They're each getting a check for NIS 1,780 plus an iPad 2.
About 1.5 million workers in Israel get a gift for the holidays. The value of this Passover gift market is estimated at about NIS 2.7 billion in 2012 - an increase of 10% from the year before (and comparing with about NIS 2.2 billion for Rosh Hashanah ).
A survey by the Tovanot market research institute found that a third of employees who receive vouchers would have liked something more personal.
Three-quarters of working Israelis expect to get a present for the holiday, Tovanot found, compared to 72% at Rosh Hashanah. A majority - 70% - figure the boss will give them shopping vouchers, one of five expects a more personal gift, while 6% anticipate cash. Only 2% are confident they'll get nothing.
Another survey, by the company Vaadim, which collates information on employment conditions at big enterprises, found the average value of corporate Passover gifts this year is in the range of NIS 600 to NIS 900 per worker.
High-tech workers can expect a gift worth an average of NIS 400 to NIS 700, while executives will receive a present worth as much as NIS 5,000.
Israel Chemicals' Bromine (Industrial Products Division ), and in the north Oil Refineries, are giving employees gifts worth NIS 1,400 each. Tadiran Batteries is giving NIS 1,300 and Makhteshim Agan, ELTA, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and the Israel Electric Corporation are each giving workers gifts worth NIS 1,200. The National Insurance Institute and the Mekorot Water Company are giving employees gifts worth NIS 1,000.
Among the companies giving the smallest-value gifts are El Al Airlines (NIS 70 ), the Dan bus cooperative (NIS 130 ), Unilever and the Poultry Board (NIS 200 ), the Egged bus cooperative (NIS 250 ), and the Ashtrom construction firm (NIS 300 ).
At the very bottom of the heap are subcontracted workers, mainly cleaners and security guards. Gifts for them, if any are given at all, tend to be worth a quarter of the gifts given to regular employees of a company. However, the agreement reached between the Histadrut labor federation and manufacturing organizations may end the difference between temps and permanent workers when it comes to holiday presents.
The enormous popularity of cooking shows on Israeli television may have affected the nature of gifts this year. The most popular category of presents this year is cooking utensils - from nesting pot sets to kitchen knives. In second place are electrical appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and steam irons, followed in third place by gadgets. One of the most popular in that category is a device for locating your house or car keys.
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