Women able to sue for more years of unequal pay

July 27, 2012 02:50

Social issues were on many MKs’ minds, with several such bills becoming law in the 2012 Knesset summer session.

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The Knesset

The Knesset 390 (R). (photo credit:Ammar Awad / Reuters)

Though in the past few months the Knesset seemed to focus on replacing the “Tal Law” and on various configurations of the coalition, social issues were on many MKs’ minds, with several such bills becoming law in the 2012 summer session that ended on Wednesday.

The Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, led by MK Haim Katz (Likud), kept its title as most productive legislative committee, passing 64 private member bills, 49 government-proposed bills and 154 ordinances since the 18th Knesset was voted in in 2012. Of those, 16 bills and 13 ordinances were approved in the summer session.

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“The social bills that have become law show that we faithfully acted for the greater good,” Katz said.

Several of those social bills were approved this week.

One, proposed by Katz and Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik, allows women to sue for five years’ back pay, if their salary is lower than that of a man in the same job.

According to Itzik, the current law, under which women can only demand two years’ back pay, prevents them from getting the compensation they deserve. She added that without her amendment, the law led many women to claim violations of the Equal Opportunity Law, which are harder to prove in court.

“This is an important step toward equality between men and women in the workplace,” Itzik explained. “The Knesset stands in support of working women in Israel.”

Another law approved this week determines that ownership of a car does not automatically disqualify a person from receiving guaranteed minimum income from the state.

Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich, along with Shas MKs Amnon Cohen and Avraham Michaeli, proposed the bill, which says only ownership of two cars or one car worth more than an amount determined by the Welfare and Social Services Ministry is a reason for reducing benefits.

“It took years of negotiations for such a basic matter to pass,” Yechimovich said. “A person can own a jalopy and still live with dignity.”

Other social legislation from the summer session include regulation of assisted living institutions and the rights of their residents, and granting IDF handicap status to soldiers injured during the first 30 days of vacation.

In addition, National Insurance benefits for Israeli citizens involved in terrorist attacks against other Israelis were cut by 50 percent.

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