Few issues united MKs Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and Ahmed Tibi (United
Arab List-Ta’al), but the two men from opposite sides of the political spectrum
signed a bill along with 59 other lawmakers from every faction in the Knesset to
protect their assistants’ rights.
The legislation, initiated by MK Avi
Dichter (Kadima) following a proposal by his aide Oren Lavi, is an amendment to
the 1994 Knesset Law regarding parliamentary assistants.
The bill calls
for assistants to be considered Knesset employees, and be employed at the level
of professional advisers to ministers.
“We are on the job 24 hours a day,
seven days a week,” Dichter’s spokesman Nissan Ze’evi explained. “We are
employed like contract workers, with salaries of NIS 6,800-NIS 7,400 a
Ze’evi also pointed out the Knesset has a budgetary surplus of
NIS 250,000, saying it can be used to raise assistants’ salaries.
the bill become law, aides would receive the same social benefits as Knesset
employees and the salary and employment conditions of professional advisers, as
determined by the Civil Service Commission.
salaries would be paid from the Knesset budget, as opposed to the current
situation in which each MK pays his or her staff.
“It would be
appropriate if the Knesset, the institution that passes labor laws and deals
with most of the workers in this country, would give MKs’ assistants a clear
status, fair salary and social conditions equal to Knesset workers,” the bill’s
explanatory section reads.
Of the 86 MKs who can cosponsor legislation –
the 34 ministers and deputy ministers cannot – 61 signed the parliamentary
Every lawmaker in the National Union, UAL-Ta’al,
Independence, Habayit Hayehudi and United Torah Judaism is listed on the draft,
as are the vast majority from Kadima, Labor, Shas, Hadas and Meretz. Fewer than
half of the MKs in the Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Balad who could have signed
the legislation did so.
The bill has yet to be officially submitted, as
the Knesset is in summer recess, and aides are waiting to hear the Grunau Public
Committee on MKs’ salaries recommendations on the matter.
In a February
Knesset House Committee meeting, when MKs unanimously approved raising their own
salaries, the Parliamentary Assistants Committee protested their low pay
compared to spokespeople of Knesset committees, who are employed by the Knesset
Spokesman’s Office, are paid NIS 12,000 a month and get a car.
assistants said the Grunau Committee recommended assistants receive a raise, as
long as they commit to working full-time and not seek additional
The aides voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure, but
it was not submitted the House Committee for a vote.