Minimum Wage Gets First Hike

YERUSHALAYIM -

The first in a series of minimum-wage increases was set to go into effect on Friday, which will bring it to 25.94 shekels an hour (about $6.70).

The increases were secured by the Histadrut last year on threat of a general strike. At that time, the monthly minimum was NIS 4,300. It and will continue rising incrementally to NIS 5,000 on January 1 and NIS 5,300 December 2017.

Vacation days will also be added gradually. In the first four years on a job there will be 11, followed by 12 in the fifth year, 14 the sixth, 15 the seventh, and adding one more for every year thereafter until a cap of 20 is reached. A separate scale will apply to those who work a six-day week, said Globes.

The Manufacturers Association of Israel expressed concern, however, about the impact of such measures on the economy, and warned that higher wages and more vacation days could ultimately cause harm to the very workers they are intended to benefit. Businesses operating on narrow profit margins may have to lay off employees, they warned.

The May unemployment rate was at a low 4.8 percent, one of the more encouraging signs in the economic picture.