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The Treasury has agreed in principle to compensate employers and workers who have been under attack in the North of the country for indirect damages, but details about the size and division of payments still hadn't been determined as of Tuesday night.
"All businesses under attack of fire in the North will be entitled to compensation for indirect damages from the Finance Ministry, including the surrounding areas of Tiberias, Haifa, and Afula," said Shraga Brosh, President of the Manufacturers' Association of Israel and business sector representative on Tuesday evening after a meeting with the task force headed by Budget Supervisor Koby Haber and including Histadrut labor union chairman Ofer Eini, Israel Tax Authority Director Jacky Matza and Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry Director-General Gavriel Maimon.
Indirect damages include workers' wages in addition to other damages and losses caused by the escalation of violence in the North.
Brosh added that the Treasury demanded, as part of the agreement, that employers as well as employees be part of the compensation payment.
The Manufacturers Association said negotiations were continuing Tuesday night to hammer out a detailed agreement to determine the exact amounts and composition of the division of payments between employer, worker and the government. For example, contribution by employees might be realized by a cut in the number of annual vacation days.
Earlier on Tuesday, an agreement over compensation entitlement for indirect damages to agriculturists in the North had already been struck. According to the agreement between Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon, farmers and agriculturists will be compensated for indirect damages caused by the violence in the North.
The Agriculture Ministry estimated that the hostilities had generated NIS 200 million in indirect damages, which include losses caused by the ban from the IDF for farmers in the North to go out in the fields; revenue losses due to the halt of or late fruit picking; long-term damage caused by spraying against harmful insects; damage because of scared animals, etc.
Simchon said the most affected sector was the fruit growing, the main agricultural sector. According to the latest estimates by the Fruit Growers Association the damage caused by late fruit picking was NIS 5m. a day.
In a meeting with Hirchson on Tuesday, Uriel Lynn, President of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, recommended that the government implement more measures to ease pressures on businesses in the North such as postponement of tax payments or advance payments of the government to suppliers in the area.
According to the latest data by the FICC, about 65%, or 110,000 workers employed in trade and services businesses, haven't worked since the start of escalations. Based on estimates by the business situation room of the FICC, about 70% of all trade and services businesses in the North were closed, whereas in Haifa alone 50% of businesses were shut.
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