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Employment in Israel

Vacation Days and Sick Days in Israel

Israeli labor law has determined a minimum number of vacation and sick days, but company policies may differ and you may be entitled to more benefits than legally required. Here we delineate what is legally required.

National Holidays

Employees are entitled to up to 9 paid vacation days for national holidays, assuming these days fall on a weekday. These holidays are religion-dependent. For Jewish workers, the days are:

  1. First day of Rosh Hashanah
  2. Second day of Rosh Hashanah 
  3. Yom Kippur
  4. Sukkot
  5. Simchat Torah
  6. First day of Pesach
  7. Last day of Pesach
  8. Yom Haatzmaut
  9. Shavuot

Employees who usually work on Fridays or Shabbat get paid for these vacation days if they fall on a weekend, but employees who work Monday-Thursday are not paid extra for national holidays that don’t fall on a work day.

Additionally, there are other days which are not national holidays but which any Jewish employee can take as one of their accrued vacation days (up to one day per year). These are called “Yemei Bechira” (chosen days):

  1. Erev Rosh Hashanah
  2. Tzom Gedalya
  3. Erev Yom Kippur
  4. Erev Sukkot
  5. Hoshanah Rabbah
  6. Sigd
  7. Asarah B’Tevet
  8. Taanit Esther
  9. Purim
  10. Shushan Purim
  11. Erev Pesach
  12. Erev Shvii Shel Pesach
  13. Mimuna
  14. Lag B’Omer
  15. Erev Shavuot
  16. Shiva Assar B’Tammuz
  17. Tisha B’Av

Annual Vacation 

An employee’s allowance of vacation days depends on whether the job is full or part time, how long the employee has worked at the company and how many days a week the job requires. The minimum number of annual vacation days for a full time employee is 12. 

It is within the employer’s rights to determine when an employee can take vacation and it is legal for the office to be shut down for a specific time period and all employees required to take their vacation at that time. If the enforced vacation is for 7 days or more, the employee must be informed at least two weeks in advance.

Employees are entitled to take one vacation day a year at any time, without need for the employer’s consent, on the condition that the employee notified the employer thirty days in advance.

Days Off Which Aren’t Vacation Days

Employees who are absent for reserve duty, a worker’s strike (unless they are government employees), maternity leave, mourning/shiva or national elections do not have these days deducted from their annual vacation days.

Sick Days

A salaried employee who works full time at once place of employment is eligible for 18 sick days a year (1.5 per month). Sick days can be used for one’s own sickness or in order to care for a family member who is sick. Legally, the employee isn’t paid for the first sick day. The second and third days are 50% pay and the fourth and on are 100% pay. In order to be eligible for this payment, the employee must provide a sick note from a doctor.

Contract Negotiations

Some companies stipulate in their contracts that the employee is entitled to more sick days, that they pay for the first sick day as well or that they offer more vacation days than stipulated by law. When negotiating a contract (either for a new job or in the case of a promotion) these stipulations can often be negotiated. Sometimes, despite a company standing firm on the salary they are offering, they are flexible on vacation and sick days. It is considered acceptable to bring this up in salary negotiations and may result in an improvement in working conditions.

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