(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett signed an agreement on Sunday expanding the employment of workers with disabilities into the Israeli workforce.
Under the original agreement, signed in June, employers were required to employ disabled workers totaling 3 percent of their total employees.
The agreement was designed to promote the integration of people with disabilities into the economy.
Following Bennett’s signing of the extension order, the agreement will apply on all workplaces that employ over 100 employees. Furthermore, each employer will be required to appoint a representative on its behalf to ensure proper representation and implementation of the law.
“Also today we are saying to society that no one is transparent and we care about each and every person. We are working for people who do not always have a lobby as does the defense budget and other budgets, we – each and every one of us – are serving as the lobbyists of people with disabilities,” said Bennett at the signing ceremony on Sunday.
The economy minister signed the agreement in Jerusalem in the presence of Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkoren and Zvi Oren, president of the Manufacturers Association, who were among the initiators and signatories of the original agreement.
“This is in large part a present from all of us to Israeli society ahead of the new year. It symbolizes the desire to make a more correct and equitable society. This is important not only for workers with disabilities and their families, but it is also important to the rest of the employees and employers because in the end, it will advance the economy,” said Nissenkoren.
He emphasized that this move would in no way harm the free market or the competitiveness of businesses and said this turns Israel into a “more just society.”
“Workers with disabilities can integrate into every field of activity, ranging from hi-tech and traditional industry to any other field,” he added.
Oren, praised the decision and the Economy Ministry’s decision to expand the scope of the original agreement. He added that this move will allow for the realization to tap into the potential of more than 780,000 additional people into the workforce.
MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) reacted to the decision, which she deemed a “historic revolution for people with disabilities.”
“Aside from the huge contribution to the economy, the agreement will enhance the integration of people with disabilities in society by transforming them from a marginalized and dependent population into an integrated, productive and contributing one,” she said.