By SHARON WROBEL
On the eve of Rosh Hashana, 33.3 percent of the working population are not getting a holiday gift from their employers for the High Holy Days as a result of the economic crisis over the past year.
A consumer survey conducted by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry found that 66% of the working population, or 1.6 million people, are this year receiving gifts from their employers for the High Holy Days, worth an average of NIS 400. The remainder - 800,000 workers - are not getting gifts for Rosh Hashana, some because they are temporary workers mainly working in the cleaning sector and are not yet entitled to the benefit, and some because of the economic crisis forcing businesses to cut down expenses.
The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said that this year was the first time it carried out this type of survey and therefore it could not provide any comparative data of previous years. Last year a survey by the Israel Manufacturers' Association found that employees of industrial companies received gifts for the High Holy Days worth an average of NIS 440, up 10% from 2007.
Of workers getting holiday gifts this year, 69.1% said their gift was unchanged from last year, 10.9% received a smaller gift, and 5.2% got a larger gift, according to the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry survey.
The total value of this year's Rosh Hashana gifts for workers is estimated to be NIS 640 million, out of which NIS 390m. are gift vouchers.
The survey, conducted in the first 10 days of September among a sample of 1,048 interviewees over the age of 18, showed that 59.6% of the employees receiving holiday gifts are getting gift vouchers.
About 31.7% of workers are this year getting their holiday gift from their employer, 27.7% from their union and 29.7% are being given their holiday gift by the employer and the union.
Out of the working population getting vouchers, 40.6% will use them to buy food and 12.6% for presents, while 35% had not yet decided over how they are going to make use of their vouchers.
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