Thursday, 16 August 2012

Finding Occupational Therapy Work in Israel- 1

If you have made Aliyah or are considering doing so, finding suitable work is going to be one of the most important questions you will ask or consider. As an experienced Occupational Therapist, I decided to begin writing some articles of information as to what you might expect when searching for suitable work here.

This series is related to experiences Occupational Therapists might find when seeking gainful employment in a salaried job in Israel. Please note, not all of these experiences are my own, many are gleaned from networking with other OT's who are Olim.

The first scenario is taken from a recent conversation with a colleague. She had made Aliyah after having a number of working years experience in Occupational Therapy in an Anglo Speaking country. She was fortunate to have saved a little before coming and eager to begin working. After completing her ulpan and Staj', she obtained a job replacing a therapist on Maternity Leave, i.e. the position was for 3 months. During the full 3 months working in the facility she had not received one salary check or any attempt to pay her. Towards the end of her 3 months working at the facility, the secretary recommended that she talk to the manager and request her pay. 

Following this advice, the O.T. went to visit the manager and had to explain her need to be paid for her 3 months working to cover an O.T. away on maternity leave.

Is the above scenario legal?

If the therapist is employed and would receive a salary slip then the law states payment is due no later than 9 days after the month for which the employee worked – after that point, significant fines, penalties and late charges apply. An employee must receive no less than minimum, statutory wage (per hour, week or month – as applicable).  There are MANY other obligations on the employer if the relationship is one of employee-employer including the obligation to provide paystubs in statutory form, give vacation and sick pay, provide a pension in a minimum, statutory amount, pay overtime unless exempted, pay demai havraah, pay commuting expenses, etc. (This information is obtained from a Labour Lawyer who we hope to encourage to write for our blog)

As you might be able to ascertain from the information the lawyer provided, the fact someone managed to save prior to coming to Israel is not a reason for an employer to withhold your salary. What about those therapists who might not have saved prior to coming here? There should never be a situation where a salaried worker is expected to take a loan or Gemach in order to cover expenses while waiting to be paid. In fact, if you are working and turn to your bank manager for assistance through the days or months you are waiting for your salary, the bank manager is probably going to tell you it is illegal to withhold your salary and hence he will not advance you a loan. 

What has your experience been in finding suitable work in Israel? If you are struggling with the process, please book an appointment for an evaluation and services to assist you to set goals and action plans to help you to find the work that is suitable to your interest, skills, health, family circumstances etc.

If you are an Occupational Therapist and have had difficulty being paid correctly or on time, please do email us as we are looking into forming a group to look into how to improve the situation.

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