New Law Would Prevent Employers From ‘Reserving’ Workers

March 9, 2014  

The Ministerial Law Committee on Sunday approved for Knesset legislation a bill that would require employers to pay workers who are put on “hold,” required to set aside work hours without actually working or getting paid for their time.

The law, proposed by MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home), seeks to put an end to a new trend that has hit Israel recently, with its origins in the United States. Workers are told that they “may” be needed to work certain shifts, but that they will only be called into work if there is a need for them. If they are not available, they may lose their jobs altogether – but if they are not called in, they won’t be paid for their time because they didn’t actually work.

In a sense, said Chetboun, workers subject to these conditions are under “house arrest,” because they can’t take other jobs, while they are not being paid for the job they are “wating” to do. Waiters, security guards, and other workers in lower-paid professions are especially vulnerable to being taken advantage in this way.

According to the bill, employers will have to provide “waiting workers” with a “reasonable payment” for their time – less than a regular salary, but fair compensation for “reserving” their time.

Chetboun, who proposed the law after consulting with the youth wing of Jewish Home, said that “it was unfair for a worker to be required to invest his personal time in a job he is not getting paid for. Employers who do so are taking cynical advantage of workers. This must stop,” he added.

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