A new law designed to make it easier for employees to observe Shabbos was passed unanimously in the Knesset late Monday.
Under the new legislation, an Israeli worker can demand a day off on Shabbos without providing any proof or declaration of religious observance, which until now the employer could insist on.
“The proposal is meant to let any worker refuse to work on the weekly day of rest set by law — and not only those who observe Shabbat and kashrut — without the danger of being fired or not being hired,” MKs Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Miki Zohar (Likud) wrote in their explanation of the measure.
“This is a historic amendment recognizing that Shabbat belongs to all — secular, religious and traditional people alike,” said Lavie. “The law reflects the essence of a Jewish and democratic state, which doesn’t discriminate between people based on their religious beliefs.
People employed in jobs related to public safety or public health or that provide other necessary services will not be able to refuse to work on Shabbos, regardless of religious observance, according to the law.
Exemptions may be granted by a ministerial committee composed of the prime minister, labor minister and religious affairs minister.