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Deteriorating work conditions – severance pay upon resignation

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Deteriorating work conditions entitle an employee in Israel to receive severance pay upon resignation, provided their working conditions are adversely affected in a tangible manner. Israeli labor law prohibits employers from altering employment conditions until the worker is forced to resign and therefore forfeit severance compensation. Our law firm specializes in labor law. In our article on reasons why a worker might be entitled to severance pay despite resigning, worsening work conditions made the top of the list. In this article, attorney Joshua Pex explains what the legal term “worsening work conditions” means in Israeli labor law.

Does Israeli labor law establish severance pay upon resignation due to deteriorating work conditions?

Deteriorating work conditions - severance pay upon resignationSection 11 (a) of the Severance Pay Law, 1963, explicitly states that “If an employee resigns due to a tangible deterioration of the working conditions, or due to other circumstances in labor relations that do not allow them to remain at said workplace, for the purposes of this Law the resignation shall be regarded as dismissal.”

In other words, the law considers an employee quitting due to deteriorating work conditions equivalent to being fired. Obviously, this affects the right to receive severance pay. This is true even if the workplace employment contract claims no resigning employee is entitled to severance pay. A private contract in this case cannot override the provisions of Israel’s labor law.

What is meant by the term “tangible deterioration of the working conditions”?

Not every change in the workplace that changes things for the worse for the worker is necessarily considered a tangible worsening of conditions. Israeli Labor law does not provide a specific definition of “tangible deterioration”. However, rulings by the Labor Law Courts have established a specific set of criteria. It should be emphasized that in most cases, the resigning employee must prove that working conditions have deteriorated in a tangible manner, and that the employer has received notice and an opportunity to improve the conditions before the resignation.

Some of the established criteria for deteriorating work conditions include: damage to wages, or the reduction of bonuses, injury to additional rights such as vacation days. In addition, any humiliating or harassing treatment by the employer, a substantial change in the employment agreement to the detriment of the employee, or late payment of salary is considered to be a tangible worsening. A change in the scope of work or changes in the workplace, moving the place of work further from the employee’s place of residence, or changes in the employee’s work hours can all be considered examples of deteriorating work conditions.

Contact our Israeli labor law lawyers:

Our law office specializes in Israeli labor law. Call to arrange an appointment at our law office in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. We’re happy to help workers who have resigned due to worsening conditions at work. We can also provide legal advice to those who are considering doing so. The firm provides legal information and aid in all matters of violation of labor laws and unfair dismissal.


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