According to the Employment of Women Law, 5714 – 1954, if a woman has been employed by an employer for at least 6 months, she becomes entitled to the protections of the law including that her employer may not terminate her employment, nor materially worsen her employment conditions, while she is pregnant and for 60 days after she returns from maternity leave, without first having received a special permit from the Minister of Economy and Trade. It is important to stress, that even if a woman was employed for a shorter period, terminating her employment may still violate the woman’s right to equality in work. Moreover, according to the law, a pregnant employee is entitled to unique protections and benefits such as limitation on additional work hours, limitation on work in proximity to radiation, etc.
During the pregnancy, a woman who works full time (generally considered 182 hours per month), may be absent from work for up to 40 hours, with pay, in order to receive medical treatments related to the pregnancy. In the event that she works less than full time, her entitlement is prorated to the number of hours she works per month (compared to a standard 182 hours per month).
We are frequently asked as to at what point in a pregnancy an employee must disclose her condition to her employer. Notwithstanding common misconception, a pregnant woman generally does not have an affirmative obligation to advise her employer of her condition. On the basis of good faith vis-à-vis the employer and in order to benefit from various employee rights, women are advised to inform their employer by the 5th month of pregnancy. Upon notifying her employer, she is entitled to various provisions intended to protect her such as being exempt from overtime or from working during her weekly rest. However, a woman who is employed in a position in which her pregnancy might prevent her performing a specialized job which may cause her employer a significant financial loss due to her absence (such as an events manager) or may put her health at risk (i.e. – a woman who is exposed to hazardous materials as part of her job), is obliged to notify her employer even earlier.
An employee who has worked consecutively for her employer for at least a year, is entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave of which 15 weeks are paid by Bituach Leumi (the balance is leave without pay). A woman who worked at least 6 out of 14 months preceding her maternity leave will generally be entitled to 8 weeks of paid maternity leave. Maternity leave can be shortened to no less than 15 weeks if the employee worked for at least 12 months preceding the maternity leave (in that case, the spouse can split the leave after the first 6 weeks, should the mother wish to return to work at that stage). A pregnant woman can take up to 7 weeks of her maternity leave before the anticipated date of birth.
The father is entitled to paternity leave provided that the mother has taken at least 6 weeks maternity leave, in place of the mother’s leave for the number of weeks she is entitled to. The maximum length of paternity leave is up to 20 weeks, provided that both parents were employed for at least 12 of the previous months with the same, respective, employer, and up to 15 weeks, if only the mother were employed for at least 12 of the previous months with the same, respective, employer, but not the father. Paternity leave allowance is calculated according to the father’s salary.
A woman who gave birth and works at least 174 hours per month, or a full time job as practiced at her work (the lower between the two), even in a new job, is entitled each work day to a “parenting hour” (previously known as the “nursing hour”) for a period of 4 months from the end of her statutory maternity leave (there are public sector positions in which the right extends for a period longer than 4 months).
A parent of a child who is not handicapped, can use up to 8 of their sick days for the care of their children up to the age of 16 provided that the other parent works on those days and the parent who takes off, has sufficient, accrued sick days available – sole parents can take up to 16 days per year if they have sufficient, accrued sick leave. Please note that as is the case for all sick leave, by law, the first day of each event is without ANY pay, days 2 and 3 are at the rate of 50% of salary and from the 4th day and on for a sick event, the person who receive full salary.
A woman who accrued sufficient time for entitlement to severance pay, can resign from her position within 9 months of having given birth stating in her advanced, written notice of resignation that she is doing so in order to care for her newborn in which case her resignation will entitle her to severance pay (if she had worked for that employer for at least one year, including the paid maternity leave period.