Women will be able to sue for up to seven years’ back pay if their salary is lower than that of a man in the same job, according to a bill given government backing by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik and Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman Haim Katz (Likud) proposed the amendment to the 1996 Equal Pay for Men and Women law, which would increase the time for which women can sue by five years.

Itzik said 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 leads many women to claim violations of the Equal Opportunity Law, which is harder to prove in court.

The Kadima faction leader expressed hope that her bill will encourage more women to sue for equal pay to men, and lighten the burden of proof.

“It cannot be that in Israel in 2012 women make significantly less than men,” Itzik said. “The current law is intolerable.”

Katz called the ministerial committee’s support “good news that will lead to equality between the sexes in employment.”

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