Pact Reached on Pay for Quarantined Employees

Avi Waksman
Avi Waksman
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The once bustling Be’er Sheva market, now mostly shuttered during the lockdown, September 23, 2020
The once bustling Be’er Sheva market, now mostly shuttered during the lockdown, September 23, 2020Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Avi Waksman
Avi Waksman

Just a day before a High Court deadline to fix the problem, the government reached an agreement with employers and labor unions that will split the cost of paying workers who have been ordered into quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the agreement, the first days that a worker is in quarantine will be deducted from ordinary sick days and paid under the same terms, the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday. The cost of the initial days will be borne by the worker and the remaining days will be covered by the employer and the government.

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Until the court ruled against the government in July, giving it an October deadline to come up with a solution, employers had been covering the cost themselves. The treasury said on Wednesday that it and the other partners to the agreement had asked the court to extend the deadline so the terms can be legislated. It would then be enforced retroactively to October 1, it said.

The Manufacturers Association estimated last month that since the onset of the pandemic in February, employers had paid out some 2.6 billion shekels ($760 million) to employees in quarantine. But the growing number of people in quarantine in recent weeks has caused the bill to rise sharply.

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