If Israel's National Insurance Institute can persuade new Finance Minister Yair Lapid, stay-at-home moms will soon be able to earn retirement benefits for each year they spend raising their families.
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The NII has proposed that Lapid push for a shift in the payment system for stay-at-home women, requiring them to pay a monthly minimum sum in exchange for better benefits as they approach old age.
Israeli workers receive old-age benefits based on the number of years that they were previously employed, and should the NII's proposal be accepted, female homemakers will be able to count the work of cooking, cleaning and raising children in the same way.
Homemakers do not currently pay into the NII system, nor do they accrue credit for the years they work tending to their households. When they become elderly and infirm, they are thus only entitled to minimum retirement-age benefits, while their working peers stand to receive significantly more.
Men and women are treated differently by the NII. Men are required to begin making National Insurance payments from age 18 until retirement age, which for them is 67. The requirement is not linked to whether or not they are actually working, and men who are unemployed for extended periods are still required to make a minimum payment to the NII.
Female homemakers who do not work outside the home do not make such payments, and earn an old-age benefit on reaching retirement age, which for them is 62, of just NIS 1,502 per month.
Currently about 400,000 women are registered with the National Insurance Institute as homemakers, and this new proposal seeks to equalize them with working men. It would up female homemakers' old-age benefit to NIS 2,253 per month, which at present they would need at least 25 years of prior employment in order to earn.