Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) business lobby, called on Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday to revoke a rule requiring a 36-hour rest period for workers each week.
"A rest of 24 consecutive hours that doesn't impinge on Shabbat is certainly sufficient and provides the appropriate balance between weekly rest, which is a value of the utmost importance, and freedom of choice over how many hours to work and when to work," Lynn said. "The employee will gain, the business will gain and the economy will gain."
The regulation in question, part of a law passed in 1951, requires that workers have 36-hours of consecutive rest during a given seven-day period, a specification Lynn says is outdated and inapplicable to modern economic realities. The law, intended to ensure shift workers get a full rest, might prevent them from concentrating his or her shifts one week to have a longer weekend. "We're talking about the paternalism of a legislator from the 50s of last century," Lynn said.
The Economy and Trade Ministry said the issue was not a new one, and noted that the former minister, Shalom Simhon appointed the ministry's Director-General Uri Paz to head a committee on issues pertaining to work and rest hours in late 2012, but disbanded it when the Knesset dissolved itself.