RACHEL AZARIA speaks at The Jerusalem Post Wednesday afternoon..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) has a solution for parents who have trouble keeping up with their children’s days off school: More mandatory vacation days for workers.
“I tried to understand why it is that every time children in Israel have vacation, all the parents are hysterical, but when I was young, it wasn’t like that. Kids had the same amount of vacation days then as they do now,” Azaria explained on Wednesday.
The lawmaker came to the conclusion that the current law on vacation days, which gives workers 10 days for the first four years and an increasing amount from the fifth year, was legislated in the 1950s based on the assumption that people were likely to stay in the same workplace for much of their adult lives.
However, that is no longer the case.
“Every three or four years, we switch workplaces and we can’t get increased vacation days. We’re always stuck on 10,” she said.
As such, Azaria proposed a bill, with support from her party leader Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, that would require that workers get an extra week of vacation days in their first years – meaning a total of 15 annually for those with a five-day workweek – and the amount would increase starting in the fifth year, as it currently does. The bill was signed by MKs from every faction in the Knesset.
“I matched the spirit of the law passed in the ’50s to today’s labor market,” she said.
Azaria pointed to OECD studies showing that Israelis have very few vacation days compared to workers in other countries that are members of the economic organization, most of whom have more than 20 days off per year.
The Kulanu MK said the claim that Israelis have a lot of days off because of Jewish holidays is not true; Israelis get nine days off for holidays, whereas the average in the OECD is 11 days.
Israelis work 150 more hours per year than the OECD average, but their productivity is very low. Research shows that working too hard lowers productivity, she said.
Azaria said she received overwhelmingly positive responses to the legislation.
“This is a hysterical need for people,” she said.