Among the new laws that kicked in at midnight on January 1st is one that will grant all workers an additional two days of annual vacation. Workers will get a minimum of 12 paid days off each year, two more than the 10 days that were required until now. This is the first update of the law on paid vacations since it was first instituted in 1951.
Workers who have been employed at a place of work for up to five years will receive the 12 days off. Workers employed beyond five years get an additional day off for each year worked, up to a maximum of 28 paid days off.
One reason for the update, according to MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu), who authored the change, was because of the changing work habits of Israelis. The original law was legislated at a time when people remained at a place of work for years, even decades, providing veteran workers with a significant number of days off. Currently, however, the average worker remains at one job for no more than three or four years, said Azaria. The new law guarantees them at least two full weeks off a year.
“This is a historic change that aims to resolve two important challenges in the Israeli economy – low productivity and economic gaps. We work more hours than average in OECD countries. We see a connection between fewer days off and low productivity; in most OECD countries, where productivity is higher, workers get 15-20 days off a year. In Israel as well, workers in unions generally get more vacation days than other workers, and this law aims to help the non-union workers catch up.”