Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Do You Employ a Foreign Worker?

Beware: They Have the Same Rights as an Israeli!

Guest post by by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

Even if you don’t actually fire the worker, he can still ask for compensation and have it be granted by the court, as was the case of Mrs. Guzman from the Philippines (the plaintiff) against Mrs. Rozenfeld (the defendant) in the Regional Labor Court in Tel Aviv before the Honorable Judge Dr. Ariela Katz.
The plaintiff sued the defendant asking for five different components:
  1. Severance pay (30 days for every year)
  2. Back pay (difference between actual salary paid and what should have been paid – payment for extra hours of work she did every day)
  3. Notice fees (one must give 30 days’ notice in advance before firing a worker)
  4. Revenue vacation (payment for annual vacation)
  5. Holiday payment (approximately 8 days a year)
The Facts: The plaintiff worked as a caretaker of Mrs. Rozental’s deceased mother (who died in March 2009) from August 2006 until March 2009, for a total of 27.5 months.
The mother, z”l, used to wake up every morning at 6 am and the morning hours were spent in the kitchen reading. The mother would sleep everyday between 2 and 5 pm and she spent the evenings watching TV. The defendant came to visit her mother around 9 pm on a daily basis and used to stay until around midnight. Right after she left the house, the plaintiff put the mother to sleep in her bed.
The plaintiff didn’t leave the house except for once a month for 12 hours, but she had much free time during the day in the house.
The plaintiff received a $50 payment as compensation for the free day she was entitled to have during the week and had no holidays at all. She was never allowed to take the mother out for a walk. The plaintiff was not entitled to hold the key of the house, to go out to the mall, shopping, use the washing machine in the house or even to take the garbage outside the house (it was done only by the defendant). The only time she was allowed to leave the house was to take the mother to the nearby Kupat Holim (the defendant’s sister used to be the one taking her mother to the doctor).
The plaintiff’s salary began at $600 plus 80 NIS for a week (as a pocket money) and later was increased to $650. For each year of work the plaintiff was granted around 2,500 NIS for both revenue Vacation and Holiday payment. For each day of a national Philippine holiday, she was paid an extra $50.
On August 11th, 2008, the mother complained to the defendant that the plaintiff was hitting her. On August 24th the plaintiff asked to be dismissed from her employment, which the defendant refused. On August 25th the police arrested the plaintiff and she spent a night in prison. On the next evening she was released and no charges against her were ever presented.
On December 2nd the plaintiff received a check for 5,316 NIS that was supposed to cover all the “rights” and benefits she was entitled to.
The Plaintiff’s claims: She was paid less than the minimum wage, she was either fired or forced to resign and because of the false complaint against her, she cannot find another job. The plaintiff did not receive 36 continuous weekly rest hours, and instead of this she was given only 12 hours a month!

The Court’s Decision

The court decided as follows: The plaintiff was not entitled to “extra hours” (according to a Supreme Court Decision in another case – “Glutan” that may change in the near future).
On September 21st the Honorable Judge decided as follows:
The picture depicted to us pointed to a shocking and shameful conduct of the defendant to the plaintiff who is a foreign worker, her only “crime” being was that she came to Israel to earn her living. Therefore the defendant will pay the plaintiff the sum she is entitled to by law, a total of 99,102 NIS and in addition, 1,000 shekels in court fees and an extra 15,000 NIS as lawyer’s fees.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Finding a Home in Israel

My thanks are extended to the Mishna Berurah Yomi program (learn an Amud a day and complete the entire Mishna Berurah in 5 years) for bringing the following story to my attention:

One of the challenges facing the new Oleh is often the difficulty in dealing with his financial situation in Eretz Yisrael after having come from a more affluent life style. In fact, not only this, he may even feel himself losing ground in a variety of other parts of his life as he finds himself shifting from one type of lifestyle to another.

The Shulchan Aruch 1:3 teaches that anybody who fears Heaven should be distressed and worried over the destruction of the Temple. The Mishna Berurah points out that though he experiences distress and worry over the destruction - nevertheless, his Torah study and his prayer to G-d must be with joy! How does one ever come to deal with such opposing feelings?! On the one hand, distress and sadness, and on the other - happiness?

The Chazon Ish teaches "עיקר עשיית מצוה הוא שמחתה שזכינו לכך " - The main fulfilment of a Mitzvah is our joy that we merit to do Hashem’s will through Mitzvos.” Yet we may wonder: How can we feel joy while undergoing personal or collective hardship?

One great answer was supplied by the Abir Yaakov of Sadigura, zt”l. Shortly after the Holocaust, when Rav Yisrael Grossman, zt”l, paid the Rebbe a visit, he was surprised to see that the Rebbe was clearly exceptionally joyous. When the Rebbe noticed Rav Grossman’s surprise, he used a parable to explain why he was filled with joy despite the recent tragedy. “Imagine a poor Jew, beaten down and sickly, who has nowhere to even rest his head. If people have mercy and open their homes to him, he will surely be filled with boundless joy from gratitude.

“The Jewish people today are likened to this poor man. Although we endured such cruelty which resulted in the murder of millions of Jews, we must never lose sight of the positive. Now that we have entered Eretz Yisrael, which is our homeland, we are exactly like a poor displaced man who has finally found a home. 

“Now you might argue that the spiritual level here is not exactly optimal. Nevertheless, the very fact that Hashem has brought us back home after such a tragedy is also enough to make us joyous!”

This is an amazing idea to keep with us - those who take the "plunge" to make our lives in Eretz Yisrael, who take ourselves very often from a life of affluence, and settle for a life which is somewhat less (physically) comfortable - and very often even spiritually unsettling! Those who make the move to Eretz Yisrael should come to see that while difficulties may abound, the first step of the journey has actually been made. They are at home. The ambivalent feelings of feeling unsteady on the one hand - yet excited on the other are normal. Now it's about moving onwards. 

One has found one's home. Now it's about "settling" it and bringing blessing in to it. So too, as we live in Eretz Yisrael as the Beit HaMikdash - the Temple - stands in ruins, we must feel this pain similarly. We must mourn this loss. At the same time, all our Torah, all our prayer and all our acts of kindness, must be done with joy. Through the expression of feelings as they should be expressed on each thing in its own way, we can be certain to do the right things and restore the complete blessing back into Eretz Yisrael with the dwelling of the Shechina (the indwelling Divine Presence) in the Land itself. 

May it be immediately!

It's Raining in Israel.

Just15 hours after posting the previous post about "Thinking Positively and Praying for rain", we found some wonderful posts on Face Book.

4am... And it''s POURING with rain. B''H.
IT'S RAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) lets hope it lasts more than 5 minutes!!! :-)
We got inspired to take a few photos ...

rain drops on our Sorgim (burglar bars)

Reflection of a tree in a puddle from the rain.

It's all misty....

The rain is out and the kids are all ready.

Reflection of a building in the stages of being built, in our beautiful Israeli rain.

it's raining again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)
It's.... it's.... it's... pouring rain! Thank You, Thank You!!!!!

Amen!!! It is amazing because of all the praying we all did for rain B"H

The rain has reached the south...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Think Good and It Will Be Good - An Appeal for Rain in Israel.

On Thursday of last week, the news came out of a disasterous fire in the Carmel Mountains in the North of Eretz Yisrael. I posted on Face Book for Jews to join us in Tehillim or Teifllah and to send in some inspirational Torah thoughts to add to our weekly Tehillim reminder for our International Tehillim Group. Our reason being that Torah is akin to water and water can put out the fire. I received an answer of a teaching by the Tzemach Tzedek: "Think good and it will be good - tracht gut vet zayn gut"

To help us to think good and to hasten the rains in Israel, we have put together a few images and a little poem. It is a bit of fun, but the message is a serious one. Please join us in increasing Tehillim for Am Yisrael and for Eretz Yisrael. 

It's time for rain, here come the clouds.
An answer to our prayers, no more need for shrowds.

 The sky covers over, soon it will rain.

This light still comes through, there'll be blue sky again.

We're ready for rain, our rain boots are out.

We'll jump in the puddles, laugh and splash about.

 The rain is now coming, the rain clouds now open.

The North of Israel now get's its soaking

The fire goes out and the Kineret re-fills

The level is just perfect, free from all spills.

We invite you dear friends, Yidden great and small.
To imagine this poem and visualization, have a ball.
Put in some frills, add to it make it tall.
For we really need Salvation right now for one and all.


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