New deal to guarantee pensions for all workers

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai signed on Sunday an historic agreement that will provide nearly every employee in Israel with a pension plan, effective Tuesday. According to the agreement, which is really an extension of the original collective agreement signed by the Histadrut and the Manufacturers Association of Israel in July, each employee will be entitled to a pension plan totaling 2.5 percent of his/her salary in 2008, with this number increasing to 15% of the monthly salary by 2013. Under terms of the agreement, employers will pay two-thirds of the pension plan, while employees will contribute the remaining one-third. Estimates from the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, the Manufacturers' Association of Israel and the Histadrut Labor Organization predict that close to one million additional employees will now be paid a pension. It does not cover those in the cleaning and security sectors. "This is a very historic agreement and we are talking about some one million workers now being brought in to the pension sector," said Ofer Eini, chairman of the Histadrut Labor Organization. "This is something that has been discussed for more than 30 years and I finally decided to do something about this and we have been able to make it a reality." Employees who are at least 21 years old and have been employed at the same company for at least nine months are eligible to begin receiving immediate payments into their pension plans. Full report, Page 15