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Employment in Israel

Working Two Jobs in Israel: Everything You Need to Know

One of the things you learn quickly in Israel is flexibility. Plans tend to change at the last minute, rules aren’t necessarily law and the food tastes nothing like it did in your home country. At the beginning of life here, these things can be frustrating, but soon you will start to see the benefits of agility and adjustment. 

One of the ways in which Israelis are flexible is in the definition of their careers. There are many Israelis who have one conventional career and stick to it, of course. But there are also a lot of Israelis who work more than one job in order to make a living. There’s the office worker who teaches exercise classes in the evening, the teacher who tutors on the side and the translator who also runs a marketing business, to name a few.

When you have two (or more) jobs, there are some Israeli laws you need to be aware of.

Coordination of Income Tax

If you are a salaried employee, the Income Tax Authority (Mas Hachnasah) provides guidelines to your employer for how much tax to withhold from your salary. Without instruction from Mas Hachnasa, when your employer becomes aware that you are receiving another salary, they are obligated to withhold the maximum amount of taxes.

In order to prevent most of your income going to taxes, you need to coordinate your income tax in a process called Teum Mas. You can apply for a Teum Mas online by providing information about your income sources, although it may be worth your while to stop by your local Mas Hachnasa office and walk it through with an agent. This may take more time, but oftentimes saves headache down the road due to misunderstandings or typos. You will need certain details from your employers, such as their Mispar Tik Nikuim (payroll tax number) and your expected annual income. Register at the Income Tax Authority in order to access the form for Teum Mas. The Teum Mas will arrive within a week or two of applying and you should then send this report to your payroll or HR department so they know the proper amount of taxes to be withheld.

In some cases, you may also need to communicate your dual income to Bituach Leumi. If you didn’t do so and you overpaid, you can request a return.

Unemployment Benefits

Working a second job doesn’t disqualify you from unemployment benefits. If you worked for two employers and one of them laid you off, you can continue to work at the second job and collect unemployment from the first one if you qualify. Your benefits will, of course, be lower than if you were laid off from your only job and were no longer working at all. You’ll need to submit pay stubs from your employer each month.

Entrepreneur with Multiple Clients

If you have multiple clients and don’t receive a salary, you must open a business with independent contractor files at the VAT office, Income Tax Authority and Bituach Leumi. You report your income and pay income tax, Bituach Leumi and VAT (if relevant) according to your total income from all your clients. This involves paperwork and it is recommended that you hire a tax consultant (Yoetz Mas) or accountant to help you with this. 

It is also possible to receive a salary from an Employer of Record such as Route 38. In that case, the clients pay the EOR and you receive a salary based on revenue collected. Payments and taxes are automatically withheld, just like they are for every other salaried employee.

Employee and Entrepreneur

If you’re supplementing a salaried job with a side business, you need to open files with the VAT office, the Income Tax Authority and Bituach Leumi. Your payments to Bituach Leumi will be deducted automatically from your salary and additional payments will be owed from your freelance income, taking into account what you have already paid as a salaried employee. 

As a freelancer, you are required to report your income to the Income Tax Authority. There is no need for a Teum Mas, unless you have more than one salaried position in addition to your freelance earnings. When filing your end of the year report, include your income as a salaried employee so your income tax is calculated correctly. This report should also include funds deducted from both the job and the business for pension or Keren Hishtalmut (education savings fund), as they will reduce your taxable income.

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Employment in Israel

Benefits for Pregnant Women

Israeli employment law protects pregnant women in several ways. In fact, there are some benefits that start even before pregnancy if a woman is undergoing fertility treatments. Full days off for fertility treatment are treated as sick days and individual hours can also be deducted (up to 40 hours a year for a full time employee). A woman cannot be fired or have her salary changed during an absence due to fertility treatments.

A woman is obligated to inform her employer of her pregnancy during her fifth month. Likewise, a woman who is hired at a new job while pregnant doesn’t have to disclose her pregnancy prior to accepting the job, unless she has reached month 5. Some women choose to let their employer know earlier, either because they are feeling sick and may not be performing at optimal level or in order to give their bosses more time to find a maternity leave replacement. The law allowing women to wait till five months protects them against discrimination, so each employee should consider carefully when the best time to disclose a pregnancy is.

Discrimination against pregnant women, in the hiring process or in the workplace, is illegal. A woman who was discriminated against can sue her employer in the labor court. This includes a prohibition of firing a pregnant woman because she is pregnant. If a company wants to fire a pregnant woman for a different reason, and that woman has worked at the company for more than 6 months, the employer must obtain special permission to fire her. A common case would be a company that is laying off many workers due to budget cuts and wants to include a pregnant woman in the general layoff. If a pregnant woman was fired without special permission, it is considered as if she was never fired.

Employers are also prohibited from lowering the salary or work scope of a pregnant woman, regardless of how long she has worked at the company. 

It is prohibited to require a pregnant woman to work overtime or night shifts. However, she can work overtime if she has consented in writing and provided a letter from her OB/GYN that there is no need to refrain from overtime. A woman can be asked to work at night (at least two hours between 10 PM and 6 AM) but she is within her rights to refuse in writing. 

If a woman has a documented high-risk pregnancy and is absent from work for 30 days or more, she is entitled to a Bed Rest Benefit from Bituach Leumi.

A pregnant woman can be absent from work for routine pregnancy tests for up to 40 hours (for a full time employee). These hours are paid for by the employer as if she worked.  A part time employee is entitled to this benefit as well, relative to the number of hours she works on a regular basis.

The spouse of a pregnant woman is entitled to use 7 days of their sick days due to her pregnancy or childbirth. This includes accompanying her to appointments and being present for childbirth. He can also utilize 3 vacation days after the birth of the child. If he wishes to take 4 or 5 days, those extra two days can be considered sick days. These days are not considered maternity leave and don’t negate the spouse’s right to split maternity leave with his wife.

For more information on the rights of pregnant women in the workplace, see the Kol Zchut website.

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Employment in Israel

Should I freelance, open a business or work as an employee?

One of the great things about living in Israel is that there are endless ways of making a living. Olim are often surprised to discover that their new neighbors are working in many different types of jobs and that they are not necessarily working full-time jobs at established companies. They may be freelancers, small business owners or founders of start-ups. The Israeli economy and social structure promote creativity, flexibility and out-of-the-box thinking about careers.

You don’t always have a choice on how to structure your career path, but there are some circumstances in which you will have to choose whether to be an employee, a freelancer or a business owner:

  • The Israeli company you work for wants to hire you as a freelancer
  • You work for a foreign company with no Israeli office
  • You work for multiple clients in Israel or abroad
  • You are starting your own company

Here are the some of the differences between employees, freelancers and business owners:

EmployeeFreelancer (atzma’i – osek patur or osek murshe)Business owner (b’am)
Taxes and social benefit obligations are deducted automaticallyTaxes and social benefit obligations are paid independentlyTaxes and social benefit obligation payments are set up as automatic deductions by the company accountant 
Minimum sick days and vacation days provided by lawNo sick days or vacation daysYou are your own boss. You make the rules.
Keren hishtalmut savings plan may be includedKeren hishtalmut savings plan can be set up independently Keren hishtalmut savings plan can be set up via the business
US citizens will not owe a 15% Social Security (FICA) tax for filing as an independent contractorUS citizens will be taxed 15% of their income to Social SecurityUS citizens will not owe Social Security
No accountant needed to file an annual return, assuming no other reportable incomeAccountant strongly recommended for the end of the year report. Osek murshe has additional, periodic reporting requirements over the course of the year (best done with an accountant).High accounting fees. Monthly, bi-monthly and annual reporting requirements
No additional administrative or accounting responsibilitiesMinimum level of administrative responsibilities in addition to tax reporting responsibilities indicated aboveSignificant additional administrative responsibilities and required understanding of Israeli corporate income tax requirements in addition to tax reporting responsibilities indicated above
Receives maternity leave and maternity payment (after accrual of minimum required months on payroll)Receives maternity leave and maternity payment (after accrual of minimum required months reported)Receives maternity leave and maternity payment (after accrual of minimum required months on payroll)
Work schedule determined by employerSelf-determined work scheduleSelf-determined work schedule
Payment generally deposited directly into employee’s bank accountPayment collected directly from client(s)Payment collected directly from client(s)

One of the reasons that we founded Route 38 was because being an employee in Israel is legally and financially simpler than being a freelancer or opening up a company. We are the employer of record for people who work for foreign companies or provide services to clients and are not employed by another Israeli company. Our solution allows people to focus on their work without spending time and resources on collection of funds, paperwork and government reporting. In many cases, the employees retain control over their schedule and choose which projects they want to work on, while enjoying the benefits of an Israeli pay stub.

There are career paths which don’t lend themselves to the Route 38 employer of record service. In fact, every case is different, and professional advice is highly recommended before making a choice that has long-term effects. We provide objective and professional advice to help you make the choice that’s best for you. Email us at info@route38.co.il with information about your situation and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Employment in Israel

How Do I File for Maternity Leave in Israel?

Mazel tov on your new baby! In between changing diapers and feeding this adorable munchkin, you may be worried about how you receive your maternity leave benefits. The good news is that you probably don’t have to do anything to make that happen, but of course, there are some exceptions.

Eligibility for Maternity Leave

Maternity leave refers to the amount of time your employer is obligated to hold your job for you. If you have worked for a year for the same company, you are entitled to a maternity leave of 26 weeks, only some of which is paid. If you have worked for your current company for less than 12 months, you are entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave, all or some of which is paid. Your employer cannot prevent you from taking maternity leave or begin the termination process for a period of 60 days after your return. 

If you were employed by the same employer for a year before becoming pregnant, you will have pensions contributed on your behalf for the first 5 weeks of maternity leave. You must also deposit 6% during this time (usually laid out by the employer and deducted from your pay upon your return to work).

If you’re self-employed, you don’t need anyone to hold your job, so this is not relevant to you, but you do receive maternity pay from Bituach Leumi.

Maternity Pay

A woman who worked 10 out of 14 months or 15 out of 22 months prior to her birth is eligible for 15 weeks paid maternity leave from Bituach Leumi. A woman who worked 6 out of 14 months prior to her birth is eligible for 8 weeks paid leave.

According to the Kol Zchut website, “The maternity allowance is computed per day according to the gross salary of the employee in the three months preceding the first of the month in which the leave began, divided by 90, or according to the total income in the six months which preceded that day, divided by 180 (whichever is higher, up to the maximum established amount).”

If you’re self-employed, payment is based on the three months preceding your maternity leave or the same three months in the previous year, whichever is higher. If you’re both a salaried worker and self-employed, maternity pay will be based on both incomes.

How to File for Maternity Pay

If you’re a salaried worker and your employer has an arrangement with Bituach Leumi, you will automatically receive your maternity pay in a one time payment during your maternity leave. If you are self-employed, you will get a payment based on your advance payments to Bituach Leumi and adjustments will be made later if necessary. If you were receiving bed rest benefits or unemployment, you will also receive your maternity pay automatically.

If you don’t fall into any of these categories or you gave birth at home and not in the hospital, you will need to file a claim with Bituach Leumi. This can be done up to 9 weeks before the due date by mail, fax or at a local branch, or after birth online. These are some of the documents you may need:

  • Confirmation of birth from the hospital (if you gave birth abroad)
  • Newborn registration at Ministry of Interior (if baby was not born in a hospital)
  • Permit from the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Economy (if you received vocational training from the government)
  • Reserves book and certificate of discharge (if you are a newly released soldier)
  • Proof of National Service (if you have just completed it)
  • Bank account information (if you are a foreign worker or foreign passport holder)
  • A completed Form 355 from Bituach Leumi. Sections 8, 9 and 10 of this form must be completed and signed by your employer.

In most cases, maternity pay arrives automatically in a new mother’s bank account. If you fall into one of the categories that require filing, the process is fairly transparent and shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ll have plenty of time to focus on yourself and your new baby.

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Employment in Israel

How Do Pensions in Israel Work?

Financial advisors will tell you that pensions are just as important as salaries, and for good reason. Although it seems counter-intuitive, retirement expenses are just as high if not higher than what you are spending now. This is because of new expenses such as medicine and medical treatments and increased spending on things like transportation and food. Taxis often replace driving, busing or walking and the ability to get to discount stores may be curtailed. Some retirees are still marrying off children or helping out their young adult kids. And basics like phones, electricity and home maintenance don’t change.

That’s why smart financial planning includes planning for retirement and luckily, the Israeli government has regulated this so that every citizen has some form of pension.

Bituach Leumi

All citizens who have contributed to Bituach Leumi for 12 years are eligible for a state pension. Israeli residents start paying into Bituach Leumi at the age of 18 (unless they are in the army or National Service). If you are working, this payment is deducted automatically from your paycheck. If you are a business owner, the government collects this payment from you directly. The basic pension starts at 1,558 NIS a month per person and 2,430 NIS for a couple, so while this is a nice amount to have, it’s not going to go very far in covering your living expenses. Furthermore, the amounts paid out by Bituach Leumi might be reduced due to actuarial issues.

Private Pensions

Your employer is obligated to set aside at least 6.5% of your salary or the average wage in the economy (whichever is lower) every month for pension insurance. You also pay into the insurance, at the rate of 6% of your salary. 

Your employer is also obligated to set aside severance pay to the amount of 6%, or 8.33% if you have signed a Chapter 14 clause. A Chapter 14 clause states that the employee is entitled to receive exactly what is in the fund (no more and no less) at the time of termination, regardless of whether the parting of ways was initiated by the employee or the employer. If you don’t use your severance pay, it becomes part of the pension paid out to you in retirement.

Just like Bituach Leumi, employees have their pension deducted automatically from their paychecks, while business owners have to set this up on their own.

Multiple Pensions

Many companies choose a pension provider for their employees and this may result in one person having several pension plans. In recent years, the government has mandated that an employee can choose which plan he wants to contribute to, regardless of the company’s official provider. So if you get a new job but already have an existing plan, you can continue to contribute to it and don’t have to open a new one.

If you do have multiple pensions, check whether you are paying fees on each one. If that’s the case, you may be better off consolidating them into one, although there are cases where it makes sense to keep them separate. If you merge the plans, make sure that your pension is now being paid into the consolidated plan.

Catching Mistakes

It’s important to check that your pension is actually being deducted, because if a mistake is made you may find yourself suddenly losing most of your salary to a retroactive pension payment. 

In general, we recommend looking at your payment stub (tlush maskoret) carefully each month, to check that everything is in order. Payroll mistakes can happen and if you’re only looking at the final number at the bottom, you may miss them.

How to Choose a Pension Plan

There are many pension providers and it can be extremely confusing to understand the differences between them. Revenues, management fees,  level of investment aggression, annuity vs. lump sum payments, various insurances connected with the policies and more differences need to be taken into account when choosing a plan. To complicate matters further, insurance agents are often representatives of one specific company, so they aren’t giving you objective advice. 

If you’re starting fresh or want to switch pension companies, it is advisable to consult with an independent insurance agent who can explain what your options are and recommend a plan that meets your needs.

Thank you to Motty Handler, registered insurance agent, hmotty@gmail.com, for his help in writing this article.

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Employment in Israel

Understanding Israeli Salaries

Whether you have lived in Israel for a number of years, are considering aliyah or are packing up to make the big move, one of your biggest concerns is surely how to make a good living in Israel. Stanley Fisher, former President of the Bank of Israel, famously remarked that he couldn’t understand his own salary slips. Salaries in Israel are made up of a number of components and understanding them is key to analyzing your financial situation. 

Let’s clarify some of the basic terms that are used to describe the required and optional tax and social benefit obligations in Israel. 

Ø  Bruto – Gross salary. Generally the base salary that is offered to you in a contract.

Ø  Neto – The amount of money actually deposited in your bank account on a monthly basis, after deductions of income tax and other required payments are removed. Note that the Israeli standard is to be paid monthly, not bi-weekly or bi-monthly.

Ø  Mas Hachnasa – Income tax. Incurred at a graduated rate. Income tax is removed automatically from your salary, and in most cases, there is no need to file taxes at the end of the year. Income taxes are calculated on an annual basis, yet paid out on a monthly scale. We will dissect this area in a later post.

Ø  Bituach Leumi – National Insurance coverage. Often compared to US Social Security benefits, but they are actually very different. (I’ll compare these two institutions in a future article.)

Ø  Keren Pentzia – Pension fund deposit. This is a mandatory benefit requiring the employer to pay a minimum of 6.5% of the monthly bruto total and the employee to deposit a minimum of 6% of bruto. Each employee has the ability to choose the investment option they prefer. This will also be the subject of a later post.

Ø  Kupat Gemel – Mutual fund investment. Similar to a pension fund in structure and purpose, but not mandatory.

Ø  Bituach Menahalim – Pension for managerial positions and above. 

Ø  Keren Hishtalmut – Translated as a “Study Fund.” The initial purpose was for an employee to accumulate a base in order to apply for continuing education. In reality, it now acts as an additional, optional short term tax free savings vehicle. Some employers offer this as an added benefit, but it is not available across the board.

Ø  Ovdan kosher avodah – Additional, optional long term disability insurance. This perk is generally only offered in the hi-tech sphere.

When you are offered a job in Israel, you will be told what the bruto salary is and what additional benefits (if any) are provided. An employer will not be able to tell you what your neto take home pay will be, since this is based on many factors outside his control. You can get an idea of what your neto salary will be by using this calculator.

Got any more questions about how your neto salary is determined? Comment below and I will respond.