According to various research studies, Israeli employers tend to stick to the minimum set by law, so that the average number of vacation days the Israeli employee is entitled to is only 14 or 15. Since the employer is obligated to pay employees for at least 9 holiday vacation days, the average number of total vacation days an Israeli employee receives is only 19. This puts Israel in an unflattering position compared with Europe, where the conservative UK grants an average of 28 vacation days, and generous France grants an average of 37 vacation days. Israel can take comfort in the knowledge that the average number of vacation days in the US is only 17.
Former Histradrut Legal Bureau Chief of the Trade Union Department Adv. Naomi Landau said that after taking into consideration the days of absence for vacation and for Jewish holidays, the Israeli employee is actually in a good situation. "Many places of work, for example, understand that the days in the middle of the Passover and Succot holidays are not efficient work days, and therefore they close the office for these periods and the employee and the employer each pay for one vacation day," Landau said.
However, Landau, who believes in organized agreements, says that organizing employees within collective agreements is a solution for extending and regulating the number of vacation days. "The number of vacation days has become a bargaining tool for employers and unions, so that we see increased vacation time at most organized work places."
The real problem results from the low number of vacation days that Israeli employees are entitled to. The minimum number according to the law is 10 days for an employee who works five days a week (the norm in most work places) and 12 days for an employee who works six days a week. These numbers increase very moderately as the employer increases the number of years working in the same job, so that an employee who has worked in the same job for 10 years is entitled to 18 vacation days a year.
The research also noted that Israeli schoolchildren are in school 185 days a year, as opposed to 180 days in the US and 188 days in Finland.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 3, 2011
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