Yishai's sister sued for alleged illegal employment

Interior minister's sister's being sued for failing to pay social benefits, grant appropriate vacation, sick leave to foreign worker.

Eli Yishai 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Eli Yishai 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The sister of Interior Minister Eli Yishai is being sued for nearly NIS 30,000 for failing to pay social benefits and grant the appropriate vacation time or sick leave to a foreign worker whom she employed illegally for more than five months.
Mina Kumari, a Nepalese caregiver who arrived here in November 2009, last week filed a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Labor Court against Yishai’s sister, Yael Sha’ashua, Kav LaOved, a non-profit that helps workers understand their labor rights, revealed in a statement Friday.
According to the information, Kumari turned to Kav LaOved for help last October after being refused a new visa when information came to light that she failed to extend her visa during the time she was working for Sha’ashua.
In the lawsuit, Kumari describes how Sha’ashua reassured her several times that her brother, Interior Minister Yishai, was arranging the visa. The agency that brought her to Israel told her the same story, despite the fact that Kumari was actually in danger of being deported.
Information shared in the suit describes how Kumari had been brought to work with Sha’ashua, who was recovering from cancer and therefore entitled to home-nursing care.
However, in the court documents, Kumari claims that she spent almost no time working as a nurse, rather was asked to take on such duties as house cleaning and, in violation of regulations, was forced to rent an apartment in Tel Aviv that she paid for herself. The law requires an employer to provide a licensed migrant worker with a place to live.
After Sha’ashua failed repeatedly to renew Kumari’s visa, the Nepalese worker turned to Kav LaOved for help and subsequently submitted her resignation.
When she found alternative work, Kumari was denied a visa after the Population Authority Office in Ashkelon said she stayed in Israel illegally for too long.
In response, a spokesman for Yishai said that he had received a request to help Sha’ashua but had told her to apply in the appropriate way.
“Recently we have seen more and more workers turning to us who have been brought to Israel to work as nurses, but in practice end up working as housekeepers or cleaners for people who do not need home care at all,” commented Idit Lebovitch, Kav LaOved’s nursing coordinator.
Referring to Kumari’s case, Lebovitch added: “This is a classic case of a worker that lost her legal status after her employer behaved irresponsibility.
Daily fear of arrest and deportation has caused psychological suffering and cost her a heavy price that might have been avoided if the employer had following the Interior Ministry’s guidelines.”
Ala Khatib, Kav LaOved’s CEO pointed out Friday that it is the duty of every employer and employee to check the conditions of his or her work arrangement and to follow the laws and regulations.