Tuesday marks elections for municipal and local council voting, and for the first time in many years, the day will be an official day off for Israeli workers – meaning that businesses will have to pay them for a day off. The day off will cost approximately NIS 2 billion, according to Shraga Brosh, head of the Israel Industrialists Association. And one way to reduce that, he told Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri, was to give a day off only to individuals who actually vote. According to a proposal by Brosh, only workers who can present evidence that they have voted will be paid for the day.
Local elections generally do not achieve a massive turnout among Israelis; in 2013, the last time they were held, only 51.1 percent of eligible voters participated. Turnout for the Knesset elections in 2015 was 72.34 percent. If his rules are put into effect, Brosh wrote in a letter to Deri, the economy could save as much as a billion shekels.
The money that has to be paid out in salary for a vacation day comes from the pockets of business owners, Brosh wrote, “and there is no justification for this if those getting the day off do not use it for the purpose for which it was intended. The law should be changed to provide a day off only for voters. This is a matter of justice, and failing to change the law will cause great damage to business owners.”