Israel Katz to present ‘Beating Heart’ plan to keep economy afloat

The plan calls on using 800 inspectors to ensure that places of work operate using a stricter model than the ‘Purple Badge.’

New Finance Minister Israel Katz (photo credit: FINANCE MINISTRY)
New Finance Minister Israel Katz
(photo credit: FINANCE MINISTRY)
Finance Minister Israel Katz will present the coronavirus cabinet on Wednesday with the details of the new “Beating Heart” program to ensure that businesses, the life pulse of the national economy, will be able to operate despite the COVID-19 lockdown and the spread of coronavirus.
“This plan,” Katz said, “will allow the government to focus on enforcement [efforts] where they are needed and to maintain the lockdown for as long as needed until the sought-after decline in the infection rates [happens].”
It includes the deployment of 800 inspectors to ensure businesses maintain a higher level of social distancing and hygiene than required under the previous “Purple Badge” rules.
The plan also calls for the consent of business leaders to sign the “Beating Heart Agreement,” which means they will accept upon themselves to adopt these new measures, in return for the state offering support when that is needed to ensure these guidelines are kept.
For example, face-to-face business meetings will now be restricted to five persons, and important meetings with the CEO to 10. Workers who are at high risk will be granted permission to work from home, and aid will be given to support the commuting needs of workers.
The Manufacturers Association and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants have already signed the agreement.
Businesses that employ more than 100 people will need to present a plan on how to operate and prevent infections. Places of work that employ twice the number of workers will appoint a full-time officer in charge of COVID-19 prevention at the workplace. Workers with young children at home will be granted the right to work from home, since schools across Israel are currently closed.
Katz is also working on taking over the field of vocational training of the unemployed – of which Israel now has over a million – from Labor and Social Services Minister Itzik Shmuli, The Marker reported on Wednesday.
The office in charge of offering vocational training to those out of work is “a failed office,” since it is only able to offer 12,000 retraining programs per year when the nation needs 100,000 to tackle the coronavirus economic slump. Rather than improving the existing arrangement, Katz now seeks to recreate it under his own ministry.
This will be achieved under a new national body to handle infrastructure, which will also be created within the Finance Ministry.