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.

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