The Economy Ministry announced Tuesday it will devote NIS 50 million to subsidize wages for groups underrepresented in the labor market, including Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews, the disabled and single parents.

Through July 29, employers will be able to apply for a subsidy covering up to 27.5 percent of the wage costs of underrepresented employees.

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Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said integrating underrepresented populations into the labor force was a priority for the country’s economic well-being.

“Israel is at a crossroads,” he said. “On the one hand, unemployment is very low. On the other hand, the labor participation rate is relatively low for male haredim, female Arabs and people with disabilities. The aid plan will help employers absorb these workers.”

The plan will, for the first time, make the hotel industry eligible. The inclusion is intended to help the hotel industry, which often suffers from staffing shortages.

Last week, the ministry launched a NIS 2m. program to aid social enterprises and encouraged them to hire employees from underemployed populations.

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