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Annual and Sick Leave in Israel – A Guide for Overseas Employers

Leave entitlements for your overseas employees may be quite different from your home country.  For this reason, you will want to make sure that you are offering the mandatory minimum annual and sick leave amounts in your employment contracts, to avoid both non-compliance and employee dissatisfaction.

There are guaranteed statutory leave entitlements in Israel, and this overview will give you the basics for both resident and expat employees.

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Annual Leave Law in Israel

Annual or vacation leave is important to employees. In Israel the minimum number of paid leave days is 12 per year, and increases according to seniority up to 24 days per year.  Of course, employers can offer more if they wish.

Sick Leave Law in Israel

Paid sick leave days are also an expected employee benefit, and in Israel sick leave is accrued at 1.5 days per month, for a total of 18 days per year.  These leave days may also be used to care for an ill or injured family member, which is a unique rule in Israel.  However, sick leave days cannot be paid in lieu if they are not used, unless the employment agreement includes that as a term.

Client Case Example

A client with employees in Israel had some specific questions about the leave entitlements, and here is how we responded:

1. Holiday Entitlement

Q.) Is the 12-24 days given up front, or do they accrue?

A.) The leave days accrue at 1-2 per month depending on seniority.

Q.) Is there any carryover of unused days, and if so for how long?

A.) The Israel leave laws do not permit accumulation or carryover of leave days.  The employer can consent to a partial use of leave days each year (but at least 7 must be taken), and the remainder can be used in the next two years of employment.

If the accumulated leave exceeds what is legally permitted, or accumulated days are not used within three years, the employee may lose those days.  This is only possible if the employer has given the employee a chance to use the leave days while still valid.

These are statutory rules, and employers are free to give longer time periods or more leave days as they choose.

2. Sick leave 

Q.) Is there a cap on # of days per year?

A.) The statutory minimum is 18 days per year, but there is no stated maximum or cap.

Q.) How are they paid?

A.) The first day of illness is not paid, and the second and third day are paid at a rate of 50% of salary.  All days thereafter are paid at 100% up to 18 days.  However, many employers will state in the contract that 100% is paid from day 1.

Need More Information about Israel?

As you can see from this example, even experienced HR departments may have questions about how to manage leave days for overseas employers.  If you are hiring employees in Israel, you may need more information or expert advise from a local resource to comply with leave laws.

How will you calculate and track the minimum annual and sick leave days for different employees?

How will you decide whether to offer more leave days than the statutory minimums?

Through our local employer of record, Shield GEO supports your employees abroad, and ensures that you understand and meet all rules for payroll, tax, employee benefits and immigration.  We make international employment simple.

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