Court Orders State to Stop Underpaying Doctors While in the Reserves

The National Labor Court ordered the state to continue paying fringe benefits for doctors while serving in the reserves.

The decision may have far-reaching effects on other workers too.

The state had asked the National Labor Court to rule that doctors, while serving in the reserves, do not have to be paid various fringe benefits such as contributions to provident funds on additional wage payments as for extra night shifts and for being on call. The state claimed that such additional payments are only for the actual time spent working, which the doctors cannot do while they are in the reserves.

The court accepted the doctors' claims, represented by the doctors unions, that: "The state's attempts to cut costs by not following the National Insurance Institute Law is unacceptable, and particularly outrageous when applied to those serving in the reserves."

The judges, ruling on the state's appeal of a Tel Aviv Labor Court decision in favor of the doctors, accepted the unions' claims and said that there was no difference between any of the parts making up the doctors' salaries. The ruling established that continued payments is the very essence of the law, which requires that workers who serve in the reserves do not lose out on their earnings because of their service.

The court ordered the state to pay the doctors retroactively from August 2005.