From now on, avreichim will be considered “workers” for the purpose of paid time off to attend to an ill child. As a result, their wives will be recognized as mothers instead of “inividual workers,” and will be entitled to take off up to eight sick days with pay, in order to take care of their sick children. The rule change will now recognize avreichim as workers for this purpose, meaning that mothers will now be considered “second breadwinners,” and be eligible for the time off.
That was not the case until Tuesday, and it was a major injustice, said MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism), whose initiative changed the situation. “Avreichim who learn full time in a kollel were discriminated against,” said MK Rabbi Eichler. “Women whose husbands are avreichim were denied the right to take off time to help their kids because they were seen as ‘individual main breadwinners,’ a classification that usually applies to men.”
In other words, mothers were given the same status as fathers in such families, an especially heinous discrimination, since women in kollel families usually work to help make ends meet. MK Rabbi Eichler addressed a letter to the Knesset Ombudsman Committee asking it to investigate the issue.
And investigate the committee did, along with the State Service Commission, responsible for public workers’ rights. In response, the Commission said that from now on, avreichim would be reclassified as “primary breadwinners” for this purpose, enabling their wives to take advantage of “secondary breadwinner” status and take the time off. They will need to supply a doctor’s note or other evidence of their child’s illness in order to get paid for the time off.
MK Rabbi Eichler praised the Commission for “correcting long-standing discrimination faced by many families.”