Calling in With a Case of the 'Conflict Blues'

Here's the low down on your legal rights if you need to miss work when its raining rockets.

In addition to its many other implications, the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip raises a number of issues involving labor law and workers' rights under the current circumstances. TheMarker asked lawyers Tal Mayerson and Neomi Landau for some answers. Although each employee's situation varies, these examples should provide some guidance:

Does an employee who doesn't come to work because of a physical illness or deteriorating emotional state (fear, for example ) as a result of the fighting have the right to get paid a salary?

"If the employee's absence or his inability to perform his work is backed up by medical documentation confirming the physical or emotional injury, the employee is entitled to get sick pay for those days."

Is an employee who doesn't come to work because he has to look after his children, who are home due to the security situation entitled to get his regular salary?

"It can be assumed that employers in both the public and private sector will take the situation into consideration and allow workers to use annual vacation time during this period that they have accumulated and have not yet used, so they can be absent from work and get their full salaries. An employee who doesn't have unused vacation days can also ask the employer for permission to draw on future vacation days in order to cover the absence. In such a case, it's important that the employee advise of his or her absence as soon as possible so the employer can prepare accordingly."

Can a worker be fired for not showing up for work due to the security situation?

"If a worker's absence is the result of official directives from the Israel Defense Force's Home Front Command, barring the worker from going to work, then it is explicitly impermissible to dismiss him because of it. If the workplace is functioning normally, then the worker is [usually] required by law to show up to work, but if the worker proves to the employer that it was not possible for him to come, due to health reasons or for other reasons related to the security situation, it would be difficult for the employer to dismiss the worker.

"Labor relations are characterized by an obligation of particular trust and good faith and the assumption is that courts, including labor courts, will not be unsympathetic to the effects of unusual events like this on labor relations."

I am a parent of a 15-year-old who didn't go to school and is afraid to stay home alone. I stayed with him at home and didn't show up for work. Can I be paid my salary or compensation?

"No. Wages are paid to parents of children up to age 14."

Can a worker who gets a Tzav 8 [an immediate call-up order to the reserves] be dismissed?

"No. An employer is not allowed to dismiss an employee called up to the reserves. It is also illegal to dismiss him for 30 days after he ends his [reserve] service."

Most employers will let you use vacation time to take your kids to school, say lawyers.
Ilan Assayag