In a move to incentivize unemployed people to return to the workforce, the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee on Thursday approved the proposal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz for “return to work” grants.
Unemployment levels averaged about 16% throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis have enjoyed the country’s expanded unemployment benefit packages. While many people prefer to return to the workforce as quickly as possible, plenty of others are content to stretch their period of leave as long as possible.
In order to reopen the economy as effectively as possible, the plan provides a package of benefits worth thousands of shekels to people who return to work between February and April.
People who return to work after receiving unemployment for at least 75 days during the pandemic will receive a “Return to Work Grant” for four months from the date of their return. The grant will comprise a portion of the unemployment benefits he/she would have received, calculated on the basis of any pay cut he took. For example, an employee who has returned to work at a wage less than 30% of his original wage will be entitled to four payments of 30% of his unemployment benefits.
For people who were unemployed for at least 130 days in the past year, another grant will provide NIS 1,500 after the first and fourth month of the return to work. This will help make sure people return to work, and guarantees that the employee will earn more from returning to work than staying at home, the Finance Ministry said. Some grants will total more than NIS 10,000 over the course of the four months, it added.
“We are making huge strides towards the summer months when unemployment benefits will end, and it is our duty as those who take care of the social security of the residents to lead a creative outline to bring workers back to the labor market,” said National Insurance Institute CEO Meir Spiegler. “We need to ensure their job security and make sure that the wheels of the economy start moving. This is a nation-wide task, requiring the cooperation of the entire national public.”