Shortening the work week to 42 hours

An expansion order regarding the shortening of the work week in the labour market (the "Order") was published on 19 March 2018 and will enter into effect on 1 April 2018. It should be noted that the Order applies to all employees in Israel subject to the Hours of Work and Rest Law - 1951.

Below are the main provisions of the Order as well as their general repercussions:

  • The work week shall be shortened by one hour, from 43 hours to 42 hours, with no reduction in wages. This will be carried out by reducing one hour of work in one predetermined and permanent day of the week. Such a day will be determined by the employer, in accordance with its needs, and will (to the greatest extent possible) take into account the employees' requests and needs.
  • Any work carried out during the decreased hour (on the shortened day of the week) shall entitle an employee to overtime payment.
  • The hourly rate of monthly employees shall be calculated on the basis of 182 work hours per month (rather than the current 186 hours), and thus increase accordingly.
  • The provisions of the Order shall not result in changes to the employment terms of employees employed 42 hours or less prior to the commencement of the Order.

It should be noted that the Order raises several interpretative questions that have yet to be officially addressed. For example, the Order surfaces questions as to its effect on the hourly minimum wage as well as on the salary rate of hourly-paid employees engaged 43 hours a week.

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