New bill would outlaw employers forcing their employees to give up part of their paycheck

Complaint by unfairly treated server at restaurant leads Yisrael Beytenu MK to propose legislation.

By
November 4, 2014 14:46
1 minute read.
A waitress

A waitress (illustrative photo). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A viral Facebook post about poor working conditions for restaurant servers inspired a bill proposed by MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beytenu) this week that would prevent random employee paycheck deductions.

“It is illegal for employers to deduct workers’ pay in any way that is not established by law,” Miller said. “Many employers have different, strange excuses for illegally fining their employees.”

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Last month, Anat Kamrad was hired as a server at The Container, a restaurant in the Jaffa Port. She decided not to work there and wrote on Facebook that the restaurant has draconian rules such as if a customer sends back a meal the server has to pay for half, and if a customer leaves without paying the server is required to pay for the full meal, regardless of its cost.

Her status was liked more than 850 times and shared over 120 times, including by workers’ rights organizations and journalists. Soon after, The Container posted on its Facebook page that it changed the rules for its serving staff.

Still, Miller decided to make sure no employer is able to treat its staff this way, explaining that employers try to get away with illegal behavior by having workers sign a contract stating that they may have to pay fines under certain circumstances.

Miller’s bill would outlaw such contracts explicitly, as opposed to the existing law, which says it is illegal to fine employees but does not specify the method.

In addition, the fine an employer must pay the government for making illegal deductions from workers’ salaries will be doubled if the bill becomes law.

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“This law will bring an end to the absurd and scandalous phenomenon in which a junior employee who works hard and gets a low salary pays a fine even if he or she was unable to prevent the damages caused. If the employer claims the worker caused damage, he or she can prove it in court and not use his or her authority to punish the worker,” Miller said.

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