Hire in Israel
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Israel.
Key Country Facts
Israel (Arabic: Isrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel or Hebrew Medinat Yisraʾel, is a country located in the Middle East at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem is the seat of the government and the proclaimed capital but the latter status has not received wide international recognition.
Israel is a small country of about 22,000 square kilometers with a relatively diverse topography, consisting of a lengthy coastal plain, highlands in the north and central regions and the Negev desert in the south. The country shares borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, Egypt to the southwest and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the east and west.
Temperatures in Israel widely vary, particularly during the winter. Coastal areas (Tel Aviv and Haifa), have a typical Mediterranean climate with cool, rainy winters and long, hot summers. Areas at an elevation of greater than 750 meters (2,460 feet), such as Jerusalem, will usually receive at least one snowfall each year. The south (Arava and Southern Negev) has a desert climate.
Israel’s diverse culture stems from the diversity of its population. Jews from diaspora communities around the world brought their cultural and religious traditions back, creating a melting pot of customs and beliefs. Arab influences are present in Israel’s architecture, music and cuisine. Israel is the only country in the world following the Hebrew calendar. The official day of rest in Israel is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.
The vast majority of Israelis identify as Jewish (74.3%), followed by Muslim (17.8%), Christian (1.9%), Druze (1.6%) and some other religion (4.4%). The religious affiliation of Israeli Jews varies widely: 49% self-identify as Hiloni (secular), 29% as Masorti (traditional), 13% as Dati (religious) and 9% as Haredi (ultra-Orthodox).
Israel’s one official language is Hebrew. Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority and due to mass immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, Russian and Amharic are widely spoken. English was an official language (1917-1948) and retains a role comparable to that of an official language.
Israel HR at a Glance
Employment relations in Israel are regulated by a number of sources and constitutional rights, as determined by:
- Basic Laws (which set out constitutional rights, first passed in 1992 by the Knesset -Israeli Parliament)
- Statutory rights, as laid out by statutes and regulations
- Rights regulated by collective agreements (and extension orders of collective agreements)
- Individual labor contracts.
The regulations set by these legal sources are interpreted by the National Labor Court, the main judicial body developing labor and social security law. International standards, especially ILO conventions and EU standards, are used by the government and courts as guidelines even though they are not binding.
In Israel, employment law applies to all employees located in Israel, whether Israeli or foreign.
Israeli labor legislation provides minimum mandatory requirements which cannot be waived by employees.
There is no specific requirement for a written employment contract and an oral agreement is legally binding. However, the Notice to Employee and Job Candidate (Terms of Employment and Screening and Recruitment Process) Law requires the employer to provide each employee with a notice of his or her main employment terms using a stipulated form in Hebrew. The form must include the below details:
- Employer’s and employee’s information (name, address, ID number)
- Employment start date
- Term of employment
- Position and main duties
- Direct supervisor
- Working hours per day and per week
- Rest day
- Social benefits and payments
- Details of pension fund and the contribution to pension fund
- Applicable collective bargaining agreements
There is extensive mandatory employment legislation protecting employees’ rights in Israel. Israeli labor legislation provides for minimum mandatory requirements and benefits (which cannot be waived by employees) and covers all types and ranks of employees.
All statutory rights and mandatory benefits are implied into all employment contracts and supersede contractual stipulations. If an employer wishes to change existing employment agreements, it must be done in writing and is subject to the employee’s consent.
Probation Period / Trial Period
Israeli legislation does not regulate trial periods but three months is common practice. During such a period, an employee is considered a regular employee for all intents and purposes.
For collective agreements, the most common length is six to 24 months. Employers have the power to extend trial periods under certain circumstances but it has to be fair and just and on a basis of reasonable discretion by the employer.
The working week in Israel must not exceed 43 hours and not more than six days.
It is common practice in many sectors to work only five days a week (Sunday through Thursday). Employees are entitled to continuous rest of at least 36 hours each week.
Weekends in Israel are Friday to Saturday.
Any working hour in excess of the regular daily hours and more than 42 hours are considered overtime. The calculation is made on both a daily and weekly basis. Employees cannot be employed for more than 12 hours a day, including overtime and not including breaks. The weekly overtime limit is 16 hours.
Employers must pay 125% of the worker’s normal wages for the first two hours of overtime in a day and 150% for any hours thereafter. For work done on a holiday or Saturday, the rate is 150% and a vacation day.
Timekeeping is relevant not just for keeping track of work hours in order to compile payment of salary but also for keeping track of overtime pay, sick leave, pensions and severance benefits.
An employer is legally required to keep a registry of the total work hours, rest hours, overtime hours, overtime pay and holiday work pay. Record keeping can be mechanical or digital. If it is done manually, the employee signs the timesheet daily and the timesheet is approved by a supervisor.
A hearing process (‘shimua’) must be conducted before making the final decision about termination and redundancies.
This is so the employee hears the reasons for his or her intended dismissal and has the opportunity to express an opinion regarding the dismissal. This allows the employer to reach an informed decision.
The employer must notify the employee in writing in advance that his or her dismissal is being considered and the reasons thereof. During the hearing, the employee should be given a genuine opportunity to present any argument he or she may have.
Failing to properly conduct the hearing procedure may result in the annulment of the dismissal or may entitle the employee to payment of damages.
Both the employee and the employer are required to provide each other with an advanced written notice before their termination of the employment. The statutory periods for advance notice vary depending on the employee’s seniority and salary payment basis (e.g. hourly or monthly).
An employer may terminate the employment without giving advance notice to the employee but the employer will be liable to a payment in lieu of the advance notice.
Prohibited dismissals/Permit for dismissal required
Special protections against dismissal apply to pregnant women, women on maternity leave or for 60 days thereafter, women staying in shelters for abused women, employees who have been called up for military or reserve service, employees on sick leave, employees undergoing infertility treatment and bereaved families.
Collective Redundancies/Mass Layoffs
The Employment Service Law requires employers to notify the Employment Service Bureau in case of the termination of more than 10 employees at once or in the same month.
Some collective agreements contain provisions requiring the employer to notify and consult with the employees’ union prior to dismissal. The common procedure is that the employer identifies the need for a collective dismissal as well as the number of workers to be dismissed. The employer must then submit a list of the candidates to the union, who can suggest an alternative list.
Termination for Cause
If an employee is discharged for a serious disciplinary violation, the employer is not required to give advance notice or a payment in lieu of notice.
Employers and employees must give written notice to each other before ending the employment relationship.
The amount of notice depends on the period employed and if paid monthly (salaried workers) or hourly (wage workers).
For salaried workers:
- Less than six months: one day per month of service
- Seven to 12 months: six days plus 2.5 days per month of service greater than six months
- More than one year: one month
For hourly workers:
- In first year of service: one day for each month worked
- In second year: 14 days plus one day for every two months worked beyond one year
- In third year: 21 days plus one day for every two months worked beyond one year
After three years: one month
The payment of wages for the duration of the notice period can be issued to the other party in lieu of notice.
Redundancy / Severance Pay
Severance pay (‘Pitzuim’): If an employee is fired, he or she is entitled to one month severance for every year worked. Pitzuim is deposited into the employee’s pension fund by the employer. If an employee resigns voluntarily, the law does not mandate severance even though some employers do pay. Any pitzuim accumulated in a pension fund belongs to the employee.
The following are the categories of payments which an employer may pay in certain situations:
‘Maanak Peraydah’: A one-time payment for leaving, above and beyond Pitzuim.
‘Dmai Histaglut’: Adjustment pay, usually amounting to several months of extra salary.
Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants
Israeli courts generally do not enforce non-competition covenants, unless the employer can demonstrate factors that necessitate their recognition. Even so, it is expected that employees are bound in writing to their duty of confidentiality.
Customer and employee non-solicitation agreements are both permissible but typically the restriction cannot be for more than 12 months. During the period of non-compete, it is acceptable to pay a compensation equivalent to 50% to 75% of the employee’s last drawn salary.
Trade Unions / Collective Agreements
Histadrut, or the General Organization of Workers in Israel, is Israel’s national trade union center and is a federation of 28 unions. The unions are organized based on industry, profession and trade.
An employer may not object to the formation of a workers’ union and is obligated to negotiate with the union in good faith.
Membership is voluntary. Even where they are mandated by law, there are no legal sanctions for non-observance.
Israel’s Wage Protection Law enables union dues to be deducted by the employer from the workers’ salary and transferred to the union by the employer.
Fixed Term Contracts
There is no limitation on a fixed-term employment contract but there must be a justified reason for using it. As with any other contract, it should be subject to good faith non-discrimination obligations.
A fixed-term contract is for work that will be completed in a specific amount of time or for a specific project. The contract concludes when the set time expires or the project is completed. Employees in fixed-term contracts must be treated equally.
If an employment contract specifies a fixed period of employment, the contractual relationship is automatically terminated at the end of this period without being considered a resignation or a dismissal.
The termination of a fixed-term contract prior to its expiration by one party (the employer) may entitle the other party (the employee) to damages in the amount of the salary for the remaining term.
Tax and Social Security
Personal Income Tax
Israeli tax residents are taxed based on their worldwide income. Non-resident individuals are subject to income tax on Israeli-sourced income and capital gains tax on gains from assets situated in Israel. Special exemptions may apply for non-residents. Sourcing rules determine if income is to be regarded as being Israeli-sourced.
Taxation of individuals is imposed in graduated rates ranging up to 47%. An additional 3% surtax applies to annual taxable income greater than 647,640 Israeli shekels (ILS), resulting in a 50% maximum income tax rate. Non-residents of Israel are subject to the same tax rates as Israeli residents.
|Annual Taxable Income above (ILS) [Column A]||Annual Taxable Income not above (ILS)||Tax on Column A||Tax on Excess (%)|
Employers are required to pay national insurance contributions based on a percentage of each employee’s income on a monthly basis. Employers are responsible for withholding employees’ contributions from wages and remitting these together with the employer’s own contributions.
Payment rates of national insurance and health insurance are calculated according to the insured’s earned income, unearned income and their work status (employee, self-employed, unemployed, student, etc.).
|Employer Contribution(%)||Employee Contribution (%)|
|National Insurance (on the 1st 6,331 ILS)||3.55||0.40|
|National Insurance (6,331 ILS – 44,020 ILS)||7.60||7.00|
|Health Insurance (on the 1st 6,331 ILS)||0.00||3.10|
|Health Insurance (6,331 ILS – 44,020 ILS)||0.00||5.00|
|Education Fund (capped at 15,712 NIS)||7.50||2.50|
Employee Pension Schemes
Under the Supervision of Financial Services Regulations (Provident Funds) implemented in 2016, the employer is responsible for operating employee pension schemes.
Pension operations include submitting data and payments to the pension producers (insurance companies, pension funds, advance study funds and provident funds) and receiving feedback and error reports concerning the accuracy of the amounts and the data remitted for the employees.
It is the duty of the employer to pay the monthly fees of a firm which is licensed to provide pension operations as follows, whichever is higher:
- 0.6% of the premium + V.A.T.
- NIS 10.5 plus V.A.T.
This cost is deducted from the management fees paid by the employee for his or her pension products.
The services of the pension operations vendor also includes:
- Depositing payments for employees
- Submitting the data connected to the payments
- Dealing with enquiries and error reports from the pension producers
*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.
Wages must be paid no later than the ninth of the month (for the previous month) and on a monthly basis.
Israeli employers are allowed to deliver employees’ payslips via electronic and digital devices. The Israeli pay slip is comprised of several sections :
- Specific information (header) – name, start date, department, employee ID, employer’s address, tax number, pay period
- Payments (‘tashlumim’) – itemized breakdown, e.g. base pay, travel expenses, overtime hours, non-cash benefits
- Mandatory deductions (‘nikuei chova’) – income tax, social security, health tax, pension payments
- Voluntary deductions (‘nikuei reshut/hitcheivuyot’) – advances on payroll, repayment of loans
- Annual accrued totals (‘meida klali/mitstabrim’) – vacation and sick pay balances
An employee is entitled to days of paid annual leave in each year. The number of days depends on the length of the employee’s service with the employer, the period of employment in each calendar year and the number of the employee’s working days.
However, in general, annual leave ranges from 10 days per year for new employees up to 24 days per year for long-serving employees.
There is no legal entitlement to the accumulation of unused vacation days. However, an employer may agree to carry over unused vacation days from one year to the next, as long as the employee has used at least 7 calendar days throughout the year and the remainder of the quota is used in the two years that follow.
Every employee is entitled to 18 sick days per year, which will be paid partially by the employer. An employee can accumulate a maximum of five years of sickness days (90 days). The employer will pay for each sickness day based on the employee’s three month average salary (basic salary).
Payment is made as specified below:
- First day: no payment is due
- Second and Third days: 50% of daily rate of employee’s salary
- From fourth day forward: 100% of daily rate of employee’s salary
Sick days may be utilized for special absences such as child sickness, parent sickness, spouse sickness, abortion, fertility treatment, pregnancy and delivery by a spouse.
The employee may use up to eight sick days a year due to a child’s sickness and up to six days a year due to a parent’s sickness, providing that his or her spouse didn’t use sick days as well. These sick days are included in the 18 days mentioned above and are not granted as additional days.
Compassionate & Bereavement Leave
Employees who are absent from work due to death of a first-degree relative (parent, child, spouse, sibling) are entitled to receive full pay for up to second calendar days.
The right is recognized as long as they have worked at least three months at their place of employment.
Part-time employees are eligible for wages only for the days on which they were to be working.
Maternity & Parental Leave
Israeli law provides for certain rights and protections to pregnant women, women who recently gave birth (or adopted children) and women receiving fertility treatment. Under special circumstances, similar protections may also be granted to men. In addition, under certain circumstances, parents may use their entitlements to sick leave in order to look after their sick children.
All employees are entitled to take unpaid leave following maternity leave for up to 60 days.
A female employee who has continuously worked for the same employer for:
- ≥ 12 months: 26 weeks maternity leave
- < 12 months: 15 weeks maternity leave
An employer is not required to pay an employee’s salary during the period of maternity leave, although contributions towards pension insurance during certain periods of the maternity leave must continue to be paid.
An employee is entitled to maternity leave even if the fetus/baby died after the birth.
The mother’s spouse may take maternity leave in the following situations:
If a mother entitled to maternity leave has chosen to cut it short, once six weeks after the birth have passed, her spouse may replace her and take the remaining period of the maternity leave.
The spouse may take a one-week paternity leave at the same time as the woman’s maternity leave, as long as the woman forfeits, in writing, her maternity pay for the last week in which she was entitled to it.
If the spouse is entitled to maternity leave if he is the exclusive caregiver because the mother is disabled or ill (with a doctor’s letter) and is unable to care for the child.
Salary payment/Allowance during Maternity Leave
Employees on maternity leave are not paid a salary but are entitled to a maternity allowance (maternity pay) by the National Insurance Institute for part of the leave period, based on the national insurance taxes paid.
Shortening Maternity Leave
An employee who worked at least 12 months, is entitled to reduce her maternity leave, provided that the total maternity leave is not less than 15 weeks.
If an employee informs her employer that she would like to return to work early from maternity leave, the employer may not delay her return more than three weeks.
A woman can choose to shorten her maternity leave once six weeks have passed (or any time after that) if her spouse takes the remaining maternity leave instead of her.
Extending Maternity Leave
A woman who gave birth to more than one baby in the same labor is entitled to extend the maternity leave by three weeks (beyond the 26 weeks given by law) for each additional child born and receive a maternity allowance for this period.
Hospitalization of Mother/Newborn
If the mother or newborn must remain in the hospital after childbirth or be re-hospitalized during regular maternity leave for at least 15 days, the employee is entitled to extend maternity leave and receive additional maternity pay for the period of extension.
Social Benefits During Maternity Leave
Employees continue to accrue social benefits during maternity leave (e.g. convalescence pay, annual vacation days, sick days and severance pay).
However, the number of annual vacation days that the employee is entitled to during the year of the maternity leave is determined by the number of days that he or she actually worked during that year.
The employer must continue making contributions to the employee’s monthly pension plan but only for the time in which the employee receives a maternity allowance. An employer who has contributed to the employee’s provident fund or Advanced Study Fund must continue contributing during the employee’s maternity leave. If an employer provides its employees with a holiday gift, the gift must also be provided.
There are 12 paid public holidays per year in Israel.
All holidays start at sunset, thus workplaces typically close down on the afternoon of the holiday’s eve.
The specific dates of these holidays change every year because the holidays are on the Jewish calendar.
Benefits to the Employee in Israel
All employees in Israel receive a range of benefits in addition to base salary, mandatory benefits and social security payments:
- Health services
- Maternity and paternity allowance
- Army service leave
- Convalescence Pay (D’mei Havraa)
- Severance pay
- Termination notice
- Disability benefit
- Employment injury compensation
- Unemployment benefit
- Public transportation or car allowance
Every resident in Israel must be part of one of the country’s four official health organizations: Clalit, Leumit, Maccabi or Meuhedet. The local healthcare insurance system in Israel is known as ‘Kupot Cholim’ and provides all Israeli residents with free access to basic medical care. The local healthcare system is funded by contributions deducted from employees’ salaries. The collected contributions are divided between the four health funds.
The education fund, intended to fund employees’ participation in conferences or education programs, is a customary benefit but not mandated by law. Employers contribute up to 7.5% of monthly salary into the fund and employees contribute 2.5%. Contributions are tax-free up to a gross monthly salary of 15,712 NIS.
Convalescence (Recuperation) Pay
An employee that completes one year of work is entitled to a once a year convalescence pay (378 NIS per day) multiplied by the number of days according to the seniority accrued in his workplace:
- Year 1 – 5 days
- Years 2 & 3 – 6 days
- Years 4-10 – 7 days
- Years 11-15 – 8 days
- Years 16-19 – 9 days
- >20 years – 10 days
Visas and Foreign Workers
A request for a visa can be lodged by any company registered in Israel or by a company outside of Israel that grants power of attorney to a representative in Israel. An employer of a foreign worker is required to enter into a written employment agreement with the worker that details the conditions of employment in a language the worker can understand. A copy must be given to the worker.
Failure to sign an employment contract with a foreign worker is a criminal offense in Israel.
Foreign workers are entitled to the same work conditions as Israeli employees. The salary of a foreign worker must be at least minimum wage and he or she must be paid transportation costs and convalescence pay.
The Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA) administers work visas (B/1 work permit). A foreign worker is able to receive permission to work in Israel in one of the following sectors: caregiving, agriculture, construction or other experts.
Criteria for Visas
The work visa can be granted for a period of up to 63 months and can be issued based on:
- Professionals in a specific field (e.g. expert researcher, foreign reporter or a senior manager at multinational company (MNC)
- Expert professional payment indicator (e.g. foreign expert whose wage is more than 2x the average Israeli wage)
Duration of Visas
Once an employee obtains the working visa, he or she will be considered a non-permanent worker in Israel. They are permitted to stay for as long as 63 months. The visa must be renewed after 24 months for foreign workers who are eligible for the working visa under the ‘Professionals in a Specific Field’ category.
Short Term Visas
Short-term working visas are valid for 45 days and are granted to foreign professionals whose expertise is needed to perform a temporary task (e.g. consultations, inspections and equipment repairs). The worker must have a passport from a country which does not require a visa to enter Israel.
Experts in hi-tech sector visa
1. Innovation Visa for Foreign Entrepreneurs (pilot):This is valid for up to 24 months and can be upgraded to a work visa for a period of five years if the innovation project turns into a company.
2. BETA- Tech Talent Relocation Program: This is a 1 year (or more) program.
Public Holidays in 2023
Passover (Day 1)
Passover (Day 7)
Rosh Hashana (Day 2)
Sukkot (Day 1)
Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah
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