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The Knesset Finance Committee and the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee approved a bill yesterday that would protect Sderot area residents from being fired, and would guarantee them wages if they are forced to miss work due to the security situation.

The bill will soon be brought for its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum.

The proposed law would guarantee wages to workers who were absent from their workplaces between May 16 and 31, during the Qassam rocket barrage. The law would cover a number of cases left out of the agreement reached between employers, the Histadrut labor federation and the state.

The deal promises to compensate businesses for wages paid to absent workers, but did not require employers to pay.

The committees expanded the law that they themselves passed a year ago in order to protect workers in the North in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. The new proposal includes a clause to prevent firings due to the security situation, and grants the ministers of Finance and Industry and Trade, with Knesset approval, to extend the periods by 90 days.