40% of Government Bodies in Israel Violating Law on Employing Disabled

Almost half of Israel's government institutions are failing to meet a new law that requires them to fill at least 5% of jobs with handicapped workers

Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron
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Disabled protesters rallying in favor of allotment of equal pay to minimum wage, Tel Aviv, May 31, 2018.
Disabled protesters rallying in favor of allotment of equal pay to minimum wage, Tel Aviv, May 31, 2018.Credit: Meged Gozni
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

About 40 percent of large government bodies are not meeting the employment targets set by the law on people with disabilities. The institutions not adhering to the law include the Office of the President, the Capital Markets Authority in the Finance Ministry and the Education Ministry.

Figures released on Tuesday by the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Justice Ministry show that in 2017, only 61 percent of large public bodies, those with over 100 employees, met the targets set by law: at least 5 percent of jobs should be filled by employees with significant disabilities. This is still an improvement over 2016, when only 45 percent of these institutions met their goals.

The figures for 2017 include 328 large public bodies. In 22 percent of them, 3.5 percent to 5 percent of employees met the disability criteria, and 14 percent of these bodies employed 2 percent to 3.5 percent of employees with disabilities. Three percent of these bodies employed less than 2 percent of people with disabilities.

Among the institutions employing less than 2 percent were the President’s Office, the Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings Authority, the Mateh Binyamin religious council, the Shoham local authority, and the department in the Education Ministry that employs teachers in the state Haredi school system – along with other bodies.

The amendment to the law on equality for the disabled, which sets the employment quotas, came into effect on January 2017. It was intended to aid in increasing employment for the disabled, who often face obstacles and find it difficult to integrate into the workforce. The law is meant to open the doors to work in the public sector.

The law states that all employers must take a number of actions to promote proper representation among their employees, including appointing a person responsible for the matter of employing the disabled. In addition, the law grants powers of oversight and enforcement to the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities over public bodies. The Civil Service Commission was also given the responsibility over government ministries on the matter. The data was collected and prepared by the National Insurance Institute.

Among the bodies that employed between 2 percent and 3.5 percent of people with major disabilities were teachers employed by the Education Ministry in general, the Beitar Ilit municipality, the Bnei Brak municipality, the cities of Tamra and Modi’in Ilit, the National Library, prisoners rehabilitation authority, Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, World Zionist Organization, Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the regional councils of Gush Etzion, Hof Hasharon, Megido, Yoav, Hevel Yaneh, Neveh Midbar and Al-Kasom. Sixty-six percent of local government met the legal requirements for employing the disabled.

Avrami Torem, commissioner of Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities, said the figures show improvement in employing persons with disabilities in the public sector, and an improvement because of the new legislation.

Employers are doing more to meet their commitments according to the law and allow people with disabilities to contribute, he added. “Only by working alongside one another will we create a more equal and inclusive society in Israel.” Torem said he expected more and more public bodies to meet the requirements in coming years.