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Are you employing a foreign caretaker in Israel? Things you should know

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

Morgan Jones

The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!

What are an employer’s obligations in the nursing sector? By Israeli law, nursing patients are generally considered to be the employers of their foreign caretakers. Accordingly, nursing employers in Israel are required to ensure their workers’ legal rights, even if they are not always aware of what all these rights entail. This article will provide an overview of a patient’s obligations as an employer; some generally applicable and others specific to the nursing sector.

Our law offices specialize in labor laws relating to 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.

Who is considered an employer of a foreign caretaker?

Nursing employers in IsraelAlthough not always widely known, nursing patients in Israel are defined as the direct employers of their foreign caretakers. There are a few exceptions, in which the patients are considered joint employers, alongside the nursing company, which serves as middleman between patients and their caretakers. But even in such cases, the patients are still considered employers for all relevant purposes. The patient is obligated to supply the foreign caretaker’s needs and ensure that they receive their legal rights as a worker. Patients who do not do so may be sued by the foreign workers and even face criminal charges.

What are the patient’s obligations to the foreign caretaker?

As the legal employers of their foreign caretakers, patients face all the obligations of employers in the nursing sector. Patients must, first of all, enter into a contractual relationship with the foreign workers who are their caretakers. The employment contract must specify; a description of the job, the foreign worker’s salary (broken down into its various components), the employer’s and foreign worker’s payments towards the worker’s benefits, conditions regarding vacations, holidays, and sick days, and any other relevant issues. The contract must be written in a language comprehensible to the foreign worker, and he or she must be provided with a copy of the contract.

Patients who employ foreign caretakers are legally required to provide them a suitable living space in their home. In addition, patients must arrange, at their expense, private health insurance for their workers. The insurance must cover hospitalization, immunizations, etc. Patients must also meet other insurance obligations for their foreign caretakers, such as retirement insurance, a deposit for the foreign workers, and obligations defined by the National Insurance Institute. For more details on this complex issue, see the article in this series on insurance requirements for foreign workers in the nursing sector.

In addition to the above, there are obligations that devolve on every employer under Israeli labor laws, such as the obligation to provide a day off every week and compensation for employees who are required to work on their day off. On the other hand, some specific obligations do not apply to foreign caretakers. For example, the Supreme Court ruled that the employer is not obligated to pay overtime to foreign caretakers who live in the patient’s home, since the Overtime and Rest Law (which covers the payment of overtime, among other issues) does not apply to foreign workers in the nursing sector.

Civil and criminal claims against employers who have not met their obligations

As noted, the above obligations (and others) apply to patients being cared for by foreign workers, since the patients are defined as the caretakers’ direct employers. Failure to comply with the legal requirements can lead to the workers’ filing civil claims in the labor courts. In addition, the law defines a series of criminal offenses for violating foreign caretakers’ rights. The punishments for these offenses include large fines and sometimes even imprisonment. Moreover, it is clear that employing a foreign worker without a legal work permit can lead to an indictment. Therefore, to avoid the consequences of non-compliance, it is essential for patients to know their obligations towards their foreign caretakers.

Contact an attorney specializing in labor laws applying to the nursing sector

If you want to clarify whether you or your family are entitled to hire a foreign caretaker, or if you need assistance in anything regarding the employment of foreign caretakers, we will be happy to help. Contact our law offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, to obtain assistance and legal information. We specialize in labor regulations pertaining to foreign caretakers.


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