Over 200,000 job seekers have returned to the workforce since the third lockdown ended on February 7, with 82.4% of those returning from unpaid leave (halat), the Israel Employment Service said on Thursday.
The number of job seekers claiming unemployment benefits now stands at 560,628, with 55.3% (309,985) on unpaid leave having an employer to return to and a higher chance of returning to work.
Many of the 201,314 people returning to work went back to their jobs in restaurants, bars and hotels, which have been allowed to reopen for the first time in several months. About 48.6% of those returning to work during the period were under 34, the report said.
Only 15,896 have returned to work in the week since the last employment report on March 9. However, Dr. Gal Zohar, employment service research unit director, said that is to be expected, as the country readies itself for the seven-day Passover holiday that begins next Saturday night.
“After Passover, we expect to see another massive wave of returning to work,” Zohar said. “After that, smaller numbers will continue to return through to the end of June.” But Zohar noted that a significant number of job seekers will not have a workplace to return to by then.
“We anticipate that after Passover there will be a significant acceleration in the number of people returning to work, and I call on job seekers not to wait until the end of June, and [employers] to make every effort to bring them back to work,” said Rami Graur, head of the Israel Employment Service. “The longer you stay, the harder it will be for you later on. Upon leaving the lockdown, we opened employment bureaus all over the country and began to make employment checks, using the full range of tools that support our placement and professional training.”
The organization called on people returning to work to report their status change, so that their unemployment rights would not be affected.
Last week the government approved a set of “return to work” grants worth thousands of shekels to people rejoining the workforce between February and April.