Israel's third lockdown: Know your unemployment rights

Financial advisor Suzy Kahati answered some of the most common questions about unpaid leave and unemployment rights.

Stores are seen shuttered closed and streets are empty in Jerusalem's Old City amid Israel's third coronavirus lockdown, on January 4, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Stores are seen shuttered closed and streets are empty in Jerusalem's Old City amid Israel's third coronavirus lockdown, on January 4, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel is in its third lockdown, and the rules keep changing. If you have been put on unpaid leave during the lockdown, it is important to know that Bituach Leumi (National Insurance) has changed some of the conditions for receiving benefits. Financial adviser Suzy Kahati answered some of the most common questions about unpaid leave and unemployment rights.
It is the first time that I have been asked to go on unpaid leave (Halat) what is the procedure?
Three steps must be taken:
1.  You must report to Bituach Leumi that you are on unpaid leave.
2. You must register with the Israel Employment Service.
3. You must ensure that your employer has reported your status to Bituach Leumi and filled in Form 100.
If these steps are taken, Bituach Leumi can process your claim swiftly.
All the forms you need are available online, on the websites for Bituach Leumi and the Israel Employment Service, and there is no need to go anywhere in person to file, Kahati noted.
Bituach Leumi’s website has instructions in English, but all forms are in Hebrew. Kahati recommended using Google Translate or another service if you have trouble with the language.
I have been placed on unpaid leave again, can I receive unemployment benefits?
Yes, you are eligible you receive unemployment benefits.
Do I have to report to Bituach Leumi myself?
No, you don’t but your employer does. However, you should access the Bituach Leumi web site to check that your employer has indeed reported that you are on unpaid leave.
If I am on unpaid leave again, do I have to report to the Ministry of Employment?
Every time you are asked to go on unpaid leave, you have to report to the Ministry of Employment.
I have been asked again to go on unpaid leave, is there a five-day period that I do not receive unemployment benefits?
If you are asked to take unpaid leave again there is no five-day waiting period.
I started working with a different employer but I have been asked again to go on unpaid leave, am I still entitled to unemployment benefits?
You are still entitled to unemployment benefits and it will be calculated according to your old place on employment.
The law has also changed if you are required to go into quarantine. Here are your rights:
If you have been asked who has to go into isolation since October 1, your employer is required to pay you but they are entitled to receive compensation from Bituach Leumi. This is the case if you, or one of your children up to age 16 were exposed to a verified coronavirus carrier and are forced to be in isolation. If you are working from home during the isolation period, you are not entitled to this compensation. Also, if you have returned from abroad and you need to go into isolation, you are not entitled to any compensation.  
Payment compensation is the same as for sick days:
For the first day of isolation – no compensation
For the second and third day of isolation – you are eligible to receive 50%
From the fourth day, 100% of your salary
These days will be deducted from your sick leave.  If you do not have enough sick leave, from the fourth day you will only receive 70% of your salary.
You cannot be fired if you are in quarantine.
Kahati noted that people who understood how to manage their finances were in much better shape when the pandemic started than those who did not.
“Some people went into panic mode when the first lockdown started, and took bank loans to cover their expenses,” she said. “Before you make any important financial decision, it is important to review your entire financial situation.”
She suggested that families draw up a working budget, including an emergency fund of at least a month’s salary, to prepare for future emergencies. She also advised to take stock of financial accounts.
“Does your bank account have signatories who can access it if something happens to you? Do your kids know where your insurance documents are? Make sure to set up a “God forbid” file so that your finances will be managed properly if something happens, and review it at least once a year.”