Sunday, 18 April 2010

Being Paid On Time

When moving to a new country, a natural part of getting settled is to find work, preferably in your chosen field. For those wanting to work in the Health related fields, especially, the Para-medical / Allied Health Professions (ie Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy) finding work that pays on time is quite a challenge.

Through my own path in this area, I can share a few experiences, to help to make new Olim aware of what they are up against. When networking to find work within the Kupot Cholim, one doctor warned "try not to work there if you can as the pay is problematic". He would not ellaborate. A nurse explained that when she begain working in a certain Kupat Cholim, she waited a few months to start being paid. She did not have huge savings to rely upon and was forced to borrow from friends and neighbours just to pay basics like food.

One school I worked in delayed verrifying my years of experience purely to be able to pay a lower salary. Requesting that they call Misrad HaChinuch to find out that the years of experience I said I had are legitimate and acknowledged in a file with Misrad haChinuch met with much resistance. A few months of trial and trepidation and they did finally agree to my years of experience but then hit me with having to wait 2 months to be paid. They were not happy that I turned to one of the many organizations that helps Olim for assistance. The organization's response was that legally, every worker should be paid monthly and they wrote a letter in Hebrew on my behalf, requesting my rights of receiving my salary. To this I was shown the door. Evidentally there are newly qualified Israeli therapists who are willing to wait for their salary and will turn to parents, banks, gemachim for assistance while waiting for their salary.

Another facility, when requesting monthly pay, responded, "you will wait like everyone else till the 10th of the next month or the 15th or whenever"

What is the truth about being paid? Hallachah states that we have to pay our workers on time and are not permitted to wait even for the sun to set without paying our workers, especially when the worker depends on their salary for basic living expenses. The rabbis of Rabbi Shmuel Salant and Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenveld's time took this seriously. There are stories of how rabbis would return to a families home 2, 3, 4 even 6 times to make sure they received their salary or Kollel stipend on the very day it was supposed to be paid.

The secular law of Israel states that companies have a window period until the 9th of the following month to pay a salary. Since taking a business course here in Israel, I am told this is can be extended to the 10th of the month. However, from what I understood, it is only a window for those special circumstances in which paying at the end of the month is difficult. Most facilities though, take advantage and will ONLY pay on the 10th of the month or later. The "or later" part is actually against both Torah law and secular law and you have a right to request that your salary be paid on time.

When asking advice from certain rabbis regarding accepting work, those I approached advised not to work for an amuta as they have a reputation of not paying on time.

When asking a lawyers advice, his first responce was to see the contract and have him look it over to verify whether the contract proposed is in agreement with the law of the country. I was also advised to speak to other therapists who work or have worked in the same facility to find out what conditions are like, especially paying on time and according to the amount initially agreed upon. Some lawyers advise only working in a job that provides an acceptable contract up front. Others say, start working, you can always fall back on taking them to small claims court if (or when) they don't pay.

It is obviously advisable for matters to be settled via a Din Torah first, and only if this is not possible to turn to secular courts, however, here too there is conflict of opinion.

If you depend on your salary each month, do enquire when going for an interview as to when they will pay and what the method of payment will be. Make sure too, to get all "promises" in writing. Many employers promise a nicer salary per hour or more numbers of clients or, or, or, until you begin working and will then lower the rate.

Many will avoid letting you know what the salary will be until you begin working. You are entitled to know what your salary will be, this informaiton can assist you to decide whether the job will be suitable to you in terms of your earning what is necessary to pay your basic expenses.

Do your homework, and get everything in writing. The more informed you are, the more effectively you can plan your life and budget correctly.


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