Bill Gives Working Wives 3 Hours Leave Each Day

Spouses would be entitled to three hours' unpaid leave for each of the first eight days their husbands (or wives) spend on army reserve duty (miluim), if a bill sponsored by MK Otniel Schneller of the Kadima party is enacted into law.

From the ninth day of reserve day through the 28th day, the spouses would be paid in full for the three daily hours of leave, according to Schneller's bill.

His proposal is presently being studied by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor ahead of continuing the legislative process.

While the law would officially apply to both genders, most of those who would actually be helped by it are women whose husbands are serving.

In addition to mandating the partial leave in order to make the women's lives easier in their husbands' absence - for instance, in taking care of their children and home - it also prohibits the wives' employers from firing them because of their absence.

The common assumption is that the husband is the one who bears the burden of periodic reserve service, Schneller explained in his prologue to the bill. But in fact, the soldiers' wives bear no less of a burden, since while a husband is serving, his wife's work load is doubled: She has to fulfill her duties at work as usual and also bear the entire burden of child care and the home by herself.

The National Insurance Institute, which would have to bear part of the cost of the wives' absence from work, does not oppose the proposal. The bill is slated to come up for debate in the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee in a few weeks.