Only 64% of Israelis Have Pension Plan, 14% Say Job Rights Were Violated

For low-wage workers and unemployed, picture is far bleaker still.

Less than two thirds of Israelis over the age of 20 have any kind of pension plan – either a pension fund, so-called managers insurance or a provident fund – to provide them with income after retirement, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday.

The survey, which covered the years 2011 and 2012, found that only 64% of the population had a pension plan – 69% of all men and 64% of all women over 20. Among salaried employees the rate rose to 86%, while only 58% of the self-employed had plans, the bureau said.

Among those without regular employment, the rate fell to just 34% — with among those in low-paid jobs, such as food service and construction, it was in the 58-59% range. Among those outside the workforce altogether, just 27% had a pension plan of some kind, the bureau said. Nearly all government employees had one.

Among the pension options offered in Israel, the most widely used is a pension plan, which covered 59% of the people who had any arrangements at all. Provident funds accounted for 31% of all retirement plans, managers insurance 26% and life insurance that includes a saving component just 10%.

Some 13% reported they had defined-benefits plans, meaning the level of their pension payouts were guaranteed rather dependent on the performance of an investment portfolio.

The bureau said that 14% of all salaried employees surveyed – equal to 394,000 people – said their employment rights under the law at one time or another been violated. Some 56% said wage terms had been violated, 22% said they had been shorted on work hours and 11% reported that their employers had not contributed the minimum to their pension mandated by the law.

Some 8% said they had suffered discrimination at work based on their sex or religion.

Of those who reported their employment rights had been violated and had a union to report it to, only 26% said they did so. More – 38% -- complained to their managers and only 4% turned to the labor courts. The remainder said they did not act on the alleged violation, the bureau said.

Eyal Toueg