After Months-long Delay, Israel Pays Some Palestinian Workers for Sick Leave

State’s payments to 248 laborers amount to a drop in the bucket.

Or Kashti
Or Kashti
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Palestinian workers help construct a new housing development at Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement on the West Bank, on Dec. 16, 2009.
Palestinian workers help construct a new housing development at Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement on the West Bank, on Dec. 16, 2009.Credit: Bloomberg
Or Kashti
Or Kashti

After months during which the Interior Ministry’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority had refused to deal with Palestinian workers’ requests for sick pay, the agency made payments to 248 Palestinian laborers authorized to work in Israel.

According to a senior official in the Palestinian Labor Ministry, the total came to around 660,000 shekels ($171,000).

Israelis who employ Palestinians with work permits automatically deduct 2.5 percent of their salaries to a sick-pay fund that is managed by the population authority, and which later passes the funds to the treasury. The Finance Ministry refused to say how much money has accumulated in the fund over the years, but a conservative estimate puts it at hundreds of millions of shekels.

Ten days ago Haaretz reported on the various obstacles faced by Palestinian laborers seeking to claim sick pay. These include delays in processing the requests, partial responses or rejections with no explanation, the lack of clear regulations and a lack of reporting to the workers themselves regarding their rights. Information on how to claim sick pay is very limited and is available in Hebrew only.

These difficulties deter many workers from claiming sick pay in the first place, particularly for short absences.

According to the population authority, between 2013 and 2015 only 1 percent to 1.5 percent of legally employed Palestinians received sick pay – a few hundred every year. Up to last week, only 156 claimants had been paid for 2016. Even with the announcement of last week’s payments, the number of claims approved is still around half of those paid in recent years – 0.67 percent of all Palestinian workers. Some 350 claims are still being examined, and a population authority official said their processing should be completed within a month.

The NGO Kav La’oved, which petitioned the High Court of Justice four months ago about the way the sick-pay fund was being managed, said, “It’s unfortunate that the authority is regularly withholding workers’ pay when they are ill, and are acting only now, under the threat of a petition. Those applying to the fund are forced to wait long months to receive the payments they are entitled to, and this at a time of crisis when they need the money to live, and sometimes even for medical treatment. The miniscule number of workers who ask for sick pay even further illustrates the difficulty in realizing their rights.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott