Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What to do if your salary is delayed?

In a previous post on finding work as an Occupational Therapist in Israel, we touched on a problem of not being paid on time. This is sadly a problem that arises in many facilities. For some OT's it might happen that when covering a therapist on maternity leave, the full 3 months they go without pay, or it could be that pay is suddenly withheld for 2-6 months some time down the line. Is this permitted? 

Please visit the lawyers info from the previous post. If you look at the previous post, we had invited OT's to make contact so as to develop a group to work on altering this problem. We had some response which was not what we thought we'd hear. The response was that sadly, many other professions also struggle with salary suddenly being withheld. 

In this post we have some invaluable information shared by another Olah. 

If your salary is withheld, you can go to an Employment Court to sue for what is called "Halanat Sachar" which is taken quite seriously.

There are 5 employment courts - Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva, Nazareth and Jerusalem - here is their website - http://elyon1.court.gov.il/heb/avoda/AvodaHomePage.htm.

Even if you worked for half a day for someone and they decided not to take you on, you need to be paid for the hours worked.. There is no such thing in this country as taking someone on trial, meaning if someone works for a few hours for anyone, they need to be paid for the hours worked. No place of work can refuse to pay saying it was just a trial and now they decided to try someone else. 

It is important to make sure you have documentation to prove when you worked. In general you have one year to claim for "Halanat Sachar". It is actually a criminal offence not to pay salaries on time (sadly freelancers do not have the same protection) and you should find that mentioning to the person who owes you salary that they can go to prison for up to 6 months or have to pay a hefty fine might help them decide to pay you faster.

I have noticed many facilities that employ occupational therapists will offer either salaried pay at a slightly lower rate or you can work for a higher hourly rate but then not receive benefits. Many of these require that the OT provide Kabalot (receipts) from the Tax office to say they work as an Atzmai. Find out your rights, it could be that if you receive that slightly higher hourly rate, you also lose the right to make sure you are paid on time as by agreeing to give a receipt for your pay, you become a freelance worker. 

If you belong to a union - like the "Histadrut" - they will take on these battles for you. 

Before accepting any job an dbefore deciding what method of pay you prefer, whatever the profession might be, take the time to find out whether the agreement being proposed is legal and whether it is in your best interests. Afterall, most people work to earn a salary. If you are independently wealthy and looking to volunteer that is a different scenario. But when you are looking for work in order to receive a salary, you do have rights the first being to be paid correctly and on time.

Monday, 10 December 2012

How to Calculate the Cost of Electricity in Israel

Winter is upon us and heaters are coming out of the מחסנים - Machsanim - storage rooms! Yet for others who do not have heaters, buying a heater this winter will be at the top of their lists. Which one is best and which is most cost effective? Let's not forget, there may well be a little extra coffee every day, boiling kettles and putting on urns! If you'll be leaving your 10 litre (or more) urn on over the entire Shabbat for the sake of a few cups of coffee, do you know just how much this will add to your electricity bill?

The electricity department of Israel - חברת החשמל - Chevrat HaChashmal - tell us that the cheapest form of heat in one's home is nothing less than the famous מזגן - Mazgan - air conditioner. In fact, it will set you back roughly one shekel per hour. Of course if you choose to have it running throughout the night at let's say 12 hours each day/night, you'll be in for an additional 12 shekel per day making some 360 Shekel added to your bill each month! Because Israel electricity is billed every two months, you'll be seeing a hike of some 720 Shekel added to your bill - if of course you own the air conditioner in the first place! If you're earning the minimum wage salary of slightly less than 4000 Shekels per month, your air conditioner will be taking almost a quarter of your salary in one shot! Don't forget, there is much to learn about purchasing the right air conditioner for your needs too, otherwise you'll be purchasing something that will end up costing more than it's worth!

The bottom line of course is not the guess work of what the different electrical devices cost us. It's how we can go about calculating for ourselves so that we'll be better informed as to what devices / heaters etc. to choose in the future. 


For complete information about electricity in Israel, make sure to tune in to www.iec.co.il - the main site for all information pertaining to electricity in Israel! For current rates, see "Current Rates." To understand how your bill works, see "Cheshbon." To understand more about the actual costs for various appliances etc. see "Wise Consumage" and "How Much does it Cost?" (Note: Articles in Hebrew.) 


At the current time, electricity for homes costS 0.5947 aggarot / hour / kilowatt (one thousand watts) of electricity. Let's put that into perspective to understand what it means:


If you own an urn which you'll be using over Shabbat for a couple of cups of coffee, this is what will happen: Take a look at the box your urn came in or alternatively on the urn itself. You'll see a figure - usually something like 1800W. This tells us that this is the amount of electricity the urn consumes per hour of use. If you'd like to know what this translates to in terms of money, perform the following calculation:

1800 / 1000 * 0.5947. You'll see that you'll be paying 1.07046 Shekels per hour of use!!! Multiply this by some 26 hours worth of heating (over Shabbat), and you'll see that you'll be paying an extra 27.83 Shekel every week on your electricity bill. Multiply that by 4 weeks in the month and your bill will be hiked up another 111.33 Shekels per month or when it arrives after two months 222.26 Shekels over the billing period. If you'll be having just one or two cups of coffee over Shabbat (for example) remember that you'll be paying an additional 222 Shekels over the billing period for those 8-16 cups of coffee (or roughly speaking 28 / 14 Shekels per cup of coffee!!!) If money is no object - enjoy your expensive refreshment! If you're budgeting - keep these points in mind before setting up your urn.

Here's another one:


You've bought yourself a fancy 3 bar heater. The heater indicates that each bar is 400 Watts. This means that for every bar used every hour, you'll be paying 400 / 1000 * 0.5947, or 23.778 Aggarot per hour of use. If you use all three bars for an hour, you'll be in for 71.364 Aggarot per hour. 

With the above heater, consider the heat it will provide. Will it heat up just a small portion of the room? Or will it heat up the entire house?! Remember - going back to the Mazgan, you'll mostly find a considerable amount of the room heated for that one shekel. If the small heater even on full, heats up far less, you may need to consider the option of using a Mazgan (if of course you can afford the installation - and own your own home!!! Landlords will not be happy with one installing one's own Mazgan. In addition, if you do, you'll have a hard time taking it away with you when you leave!)

Hope these points help you to understand what the reality of electricity costs through the practical examples given!


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