Know your obligations – what are the insurance requirements for foreign caretakers in Israel?
In the preceding article of this series, we discussed various obligations that devolve on employers of foreign caretakers. By law, the designated employers are usually the patients themselves. Of these obligations, the issue of insurance is of primary importance. If legal requirements for insurance are not met, the employer may face large fines and be forced to pay compensation.This article will cover specific principles relating to insurance requirements for foreign caretakers, as well as employers’ obligations regarding health insurance, pension, and National Insurance.
Our law offices specialize in labor laws regarding caretakers. We provide our clients with solutions and assistance for such issues as patient/caretaker relations, obtaining and extending work and residency permits, transferring workers between patients, and providing legal counseling and assistance for workers and employers in this sector.
Recent years have seen many amendments to legislation regarding foreign workers’ insurance rights. The importance of this issue cannot be overemphasized. In many cases, courts and labor courts have mandated fines and compensation payments of tens and even hundreds of thousands of shekels for noncompliance with various legal requirements regarding insurance for foreign caretakers. Moreover, despite the fact that employing foreign caretakers without all the required permits is against the law, it is important to note that the insurance obligations apply even to workers who are illegally employed.
What are the main insurance requirements for foreign caretakers in Israel?
Below we list the main insurance requirements for foreign caretakers:
An employer of a foreign caretaker is required to open a file at the National Insurance Institute and arrange to pay their share of the worker’s National Insurance payments. Note that the National Insurance Institute provides foreign workers with insurance such as coverage for work-related injuries, but not health insurance. Thus the employer must arrange the worker’s health insurance separately.
Also note that in certain cases, it is possible to obtain an exemption from paying National Insurance payments for a foreign caretaker. The exemption is based on a number of factors, such as size of salary and mode of employment. For example, the exemption presently applies to a foreign caretaker’s privately paid salary of up to 5,500 NIS. The exemption is not granted automatically, but must be applied for.
By law, the employer of a foreign caretaker must purchase private health insurance for his or her worker. The insurance coverage must include, for example, hospitalization, immunizations, a basket of medications, a basket of labor services, etc. The insurance is paid for by the employer, although they are permitted to deduct a certain portion of the payment from the worker’s salary. The size of the deduction is specified in the foreign workers regulations (rate of salary deduction for medical insurance). At present this deduction can be up to half of the amount paid for this insurance.
Since 2008, all salaried workers in Israel are entitled to have money allocated towards their pensions by their employers. This requirement is defined by the order expanding comprehensive retirement insurance in the Israeli market. This order applies to foreign caretakers at the same level as Israeli workers. In the case of a foreign caretaker who is employed simultaneously by both a nursing company and by the patient, the pension allocation is determined as a relative percentage from each employer. In cases where the allocations are not made every month, the amount is estimated when the worker’s employment ends, based on the amount of the salary for the time that he or she worked.
In this context, see another article in this series regarding ending employment for a foreign caretaker.
As you can see, the costs of the various insurance obligations are not high in and of themselves. However, as noted above, courts tend to levy fines and compensation at much higher sums for those who do not meet their obligations. Accordingly, it is crucial to be well-informed on this issue, in order to avoid facing the serious consequences of non-compliance with the above requirements.
Contact an attorney specializing in insurance requirements for foreign caretakers
If you want to clarify whether you or your family are entitled to hire a foreign caretaker, or if you need advice and legal assistance regarding an employment permit, obtaining legal status, or insurance obligations regarding a foreign caretaker, we will be happy to help. Contact our law offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, to obtain legal advice and assistance. We specialize in the regulations pertaining to foreign caretakers, obtaining legal status for them, and representing workers and their employers before the various courts.