Law Would Prevent Firing of Parents of Cancer-Suffering Kids

The newly built Assuta hospital in Ashdod. (Hachadashot Hachamot)

A new law proposed by MK Miki Zohar would prevent employers from dismissing parents of children who have cancer. A parent in such a situation could only be fired by special order of the Minister of Labor and Welfare, according to the law. In addition, the law will be extended to cover workers who have been on the job for six months at least.

Some 400 new cases of malignant cancer are reported among children in Israel each year. Once such a diagnosis is made, the lives of children – and parents – turn into a medical nightmare, with chemical and radiation treatments wreaking havoc on their lives. Working parents need to take many unscheduled days off work, and quickly burn through vacation and sick days. Such workers could be considered liabilities by employers, Zohar said – which is why parents in that situation need protection.

Currently, parents of children with cancer are eligible for up to 90 days off from work, but that limited protection kicks in after just a year. In any event, parents are not protected from dismissal; they can be fired even before they take the 90 days they are permitted, with cause, of course. Under his law, Zohar said, the Minister of Labor and Welfare will determine whether there is justified cause for a dismissal, and such dismissals will not take place if he or she determines that the worker is being fired for reasons connected to their sick child.

“Besides the difficulties in dealing with their sick child, parents in this situation are forced to be absent from work, jeopardizing their family income,” Zohar said in a statement. “My proposal will allow parents to feel protected while they deal with their main struggle – the struggle to save their children’s lives.”

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