Ministers approve upping minimum vacation days for workers

The minimum number of vacation days for Israeli workers will increase to 12 from 10 if a bill the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday becomes law. The bill by MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) is the first amendment made to the Annual Vacation Law since it was passed in 1951. The current law states that workers receive two weeks of vacation time (10 days) until their fifth year at their work place, after which the number of days goes up annually until it reaches 28 days after 14 years.

This is a significant first step toward matching the law that passed in 1951 to today s workplace, Azaria said. Economists see a direct connection between workers welfare and productivity, therefore, increasing vacation days is good for the whole market. According to Azaria, the law was originally written for a society in which most people worked at the same place for many years, so that by the time they had families with children in school, they had around 10 years of experience in one place and could take vacation when their children were off from school. Today, however, many people jump from one employer to another every few years, and never achieve more than 10 vacation days. The current law makes it difficult for parents of children to deal with the education system s vacation days without a reasonable amount of vacation days from work, Azaria explained. According to Azaria, most OECD countries increased the minimum vacation allowance from two to three weeks in the 1970s, and she called on Israel to follow suit. France is the OECD country with the most required vacation days at 30, followed by the UK with 28.

Israel is tied at 10 days with Japan and Canada, among others.

The US is the only OECD country that does not have mandatory paid vacation time.

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