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Women in the civil service who return to work from maternity leave are entitled to work one hour less a day for a year. If they have to work more than that truncated day, they get overtime pay of 100%. And no, men don't need and can't have that privilege, the National Labor Tribunal ruled yesterday, overturning a lower court's decision.

Fathers don't need an incentive to return to work overtime, the higher court explained.

The story began when Dan Bahat, a lawyer working for the state, sued the state for the same terms as working mothers following the birth of his son, after his request had been refused. Representing himself, he claimed discrimination. The Jerusalem Labor Tribunal agreed and ordered the state to pay him overtime for hours beyond the truncated day, a decision the state appealed.

Its representatives said the extra pay for women aims to advance their status in the civil service and reflect their equality with male employees. Judge Varda Wirth-Livne agreed, and added that in reality there is no gender equality. Nor would giving men the same perks help: Men will opt to work overtime for the extra money, and the burden of childcare will fall on the wives, she said.