Employees who quit their jobs in order to move to a settlement or outpost enjoy preferential benefits compared to those who quit to move anywhere else, according to a little-known article in the severance pay law.

Attorney Shlomo Lecker discovered the clause while handling the cases of several Palestinians employed by the municipality of Ma'aleh Adumim, a West Bank settlement.

Employees are usually entitled to severance pay only if they are fired, not if they quit. But the law includes an exception for certain workers who quit because they are leaving town.

As a rule, such workers are entitled to severance pay only if they are moving for one of a list of specified purposes - for instance, due to a marriage or divorce. But even then, they must move at least 40 kilometers from their workplace to qualify.

Under Article 8 of the severance pay law, however, none of these conditions apply to workers who move to the settlements. "If a worker relocates his residence to a settlement or outpost authorized for this purpose by the defense minister and the agriculture minister, it is enough for the resigning employee to live in the place for six months [to qualify for severance pay]," regardless of why he is moving or how far his new home is from his workplace.

The only other exceptions to the 40-kilometer rule are for workers who move from an ordinary urban or rural community to a development town or an agricultural community.

For municipal workers, the law lays down slightly tougher rules for people moving to a settlement: To qualify for severance pay, the worker must live in the settlement for at least a year and present documentation to prove that it is his permanent home. But that law doesn't include the requirement that the settlement be approved by the defense minister - meaning even illegal outposts would theoretically qualify.