A young patient at the Pilot School for Hospitalized Children at the Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem..
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER)
The Labor, Welfare and Health Committee unanimously passed the first reading of a bill on Monday that would enable parents of sick children requiring constant treatments to take up to 90 days off work per year.
The bill, proposed by MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) and committee chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud), aims to expand on the current law allowing parents of children with terminal illnesses time off of work.
The proposed bill would enable parents with children receiving dialysis or regular treatments for severe illnesses to bank their vacation and sick days and take up to 90 days off of work.
“Being a parent of a child with a serious illness and to work simultaneously is an almost impossible task. All we ask is to allow the employee to use accumulated sick days,” Maklev said at the committee meeting on Monday.
Orly Micah, a coordinator for dialysis patients, told the committee that parents are often required to accompany their children for the difficult treatments four times a week for an average of four hours per treatment.
However, not all the attendees at the hearing welcomed the proposed law.
Attorney Sigal Sudai, director of labor relations at the Chamber of Commerce said during the committee hearing that this new law would create a financial burden on some 400,000 small businesses, and on the economy as a whole.
According to Sudai, an employer would be required to recruit a new employee or a temporary replacement for the absent parent and as such, she suggested the state participate in the financial burden.
The committee, however, rejected her suggestion.
Uri Scheinin, an employment administrator in the budgetary division of the Finance Ministry also expressed concern.
“The bill could become a double-edged sword as we place more and more costs on the employers. Consequently, as the government is the largest employer in the economy, we must add the finance minister to the consultations in determining which serious diseases will be recognized under this law,” he said.