The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry has created a new office for supervising the rights of foreign workers in Israel. The new authority is supposed to protect workers by ensuring labor laws are enforced and that their wages are paid legally. Attorney Iris Maayan was appointed to head the new department in the ministry.
Sharon Kedmi, the director general of the ministry, said Maayan will have the authority to initiate criminal proceedings if workers' rights are violated. The new departments purview will include matters such as the physical conditions, such as housing or work conditions provided to the foreign workers as well as issues such as providing proper medical insurance.
Maayan said foreign workers are one of the most powerless groups in the job market and they have little capacity to stand up for their rights and negotiate conditions, hence why many employers tend to violate their rights.
Eroding worker rights can can ultimately impact the employment conditions of Israeli workers as well, she said.
The new watchdog for foreign workers' rights will not just collect complaints but will intervene in legal proceedings against employers suspected of exploiting their employees, as well as initiating legal cases on its own.
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