Israeli workers earning the minimum wage got a raise Sunday. As of January 1st, the minimum monthly wage for workers is NIS 5,000, nearly 27 shekels an hour for a standard work week of 42.5 hours. The increase is the first of two this year; next December, the minimum wage will rise to NIS 5,300.
The law applies to all workers, regardless of their legal status, including Palestinian workers and illegal foreign workers. The law also applies to “off the books” workers; authorities promised that an investigation will be opened if a complaint is received about an employer, and the worker will get their money. Overtime wages have risen as well; workers who labor up to ten extra hours per month get 125 percent of the base salary for those hours, while the increase jumps to 150 percent for hours beyond that.
The increase was due to a coalition agreement between the government, Shas and United Torah Judaism. Included in the package was an NIS 50 shekel increase in Child Allowance payments by the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi). That increase comes independent of the NIS 50 that the NII will now set aside for children 18 and under, to be deposited in a bank account or trust fund that will guarantee them a miniature “nest egg” they can access when they are 18 years old. That savings program also went into effect Sunday.
Commenting on the increase, Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri said that it was “part of the revolution we have seen in social welfare programs. The poor are less poor, the weak are less weak. Public transportation is cheaper, and soon water tariffs for poorer families will be cheaper as well.”