The caregivers phenomenon in Israel is very wide and in a certain way unique which is not similar to what is going on in other countries around the world. In order to fully understand this we must get to know it better first and understand its background.
How did it all started?
In 1988, due to the increase life expectancy, the rapid pace of aging population and the families desire to take care of the elderly at home instead of sending them to nursing homes, the state of Israel established a law that would benefit the senior citizens. Thus, each elderly should be entitled (on specific criteria) to receive free assistance from the government. The assistance will be in a form of physical help not as a cash benefit. The goal of this law is to enable elderly to age in their home and environment.
After this law was implemented, at the beginning only the local caregivers are the one giving a helping hand such as staying in the house for couple of hours in order to help and assist the elderly people to perform their daily tasks. Establishing this law, implementing and integrating it to the community was a success. However, a new need arises; More and more elderlies want to stay in their houses, but some of them that were in a poor physical and functional status needed more intensive care – a couple of hours a day were no longer enough. The solution that the government offers was by hiring a foreign caregiver that will live with the elderly in the same house and provide care.
Who are the foreign caregivers that arrive to Israel?
According to the population authority and immigration at the end of 2015, there were more than 45,000 legal foreign caregivers in Israel, about 80% of them are women.
In relation to the relevance of this article, we would only refer to foreign workers in the nursing field (caregivers) the majority of them are from Philippines. In addition there are also caregivers from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Moldova and others.
The first batch of caregivers arrived in Israel during the 1980’s are from the Philippines and were intended to care for handicapped IDF veterans in their homes. Later on, due to the formation of the Nursing Act (1988) more caregivers arrived for the purpose of caring for elderly in their houses.
Throughout the years there were many changes in the rules and regulation regarding the employment of the foreign caregivers.The changes are for the better social benefits of foreign workers, so they will get equal rights as well as with the employment conditions of the local workers.
A short description of the terms of employment of foreign caregivers in Israel
Foreign workers in Israel are working in accordance with existing employment laws of the country. Therefore, they are subject to obligations as well as the rights that the law states. The framework for foreign workers in the nursing care requires them to live-in with their patients at home (except in exceptional circumstances and with special permission).Therefore, there are unique sections that concern the employment of a foreign workers in the nursing care field which will not be relevant to other fields.
Here are main points in employment rights of foreign workers in the nursing field:
- The caregiver salary will not be less than the minimum salary stated by the law in the country.
- The employer is not allowed to deduct more than 25% of the caregiver salary due to living expenses.
- The caregiver will gain during the period of employment with the same employer seniority that will provide him with the social benefits entitled by law (pensions, vacation pay, sick leave, annual leave and compensation).
- The caregiver must act according to the law and its provisions regarding termination of work (short notice). If the caregiver will not oblige and be responsible in this term he will have to bear the consequences (deduction of wages and in some cases even expulsion).
- An employer must provide the caregiver a written copy of the employment contract in a language that is understood by the caregiver.
- An employer is required by the law to provide a private medical insurance for a caregiver that should cover the entire employment period and gives you a summary of the insurance policy in a language that you understand.
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