Seven laws will be going into effect in Israel on January 1, 2017 including an additional vacation day and new Bituach Leumi investment law.
1. The national minimum wage will increase to NIS 5,000 monthly. This represents the third incremental increase since the law was passed in December 2014. The fourth and final incremental increase is set for the end of 2017, at which time minimum wage will be NIS 5,300 monthly.
2. The Bag Law: Nylon bags will now cost 10 agorot instead of being free as has been the case to date in the hope of curtailing their use. The funds generated will go to a special Environmental Affairs Ministry fund. The charge for bags will not apply in supermarkets or grocery stores. The law hopes to curtail the use of plastic bags which reached 274 bags per person in Israel, totaling an astounding 1.28 million plastic bags annually.
3. The new compulsory Bituach Leumi savings plan for children will begin, resulting in NIS 50 of a child’s monthly allowance being placed in a bank account until the children reaches 18. Parents will have the option of increasing the sum deposited monthly but they will not be permitted to lessen the sum. A sum of NIS 1,000 will be deposited as well, retroactive from May 2015 to December 2016.
4. Salaried workers will be entitled to an additional vacation days. The bill was sponsored by MK (Kulanu) Rachel Azariya, resulting in two additional days annually with the first introduced in July 2016 and the second now. Workers employed up to four years in a place of employment working five days weekly earn 12 days of vacation annually instead of 10. Workers employed six days a week will be entitled to 14 vacation days a year instead of 12.
5. Tax rate change. Persons earning up to NIS 20,000 gross monthly will pay less tax while those earning NIS 60,000 or more monthly will pay more tax. The amount saved for mid and lower range wage earners will depend on one’s income and it will range between NIS 30 to NIS 150. Those earning over NIS 60,000 monthly will be paying an additional NIS 200 monthly in income taxes.
6. Self-employed persons will be compelled to set aside pension plans. There are 210,000 self-employed people in Israel. 40% of the self-employed do not have pension plans but a formula has now been set into place for a mandatory minimum pension plan for self-employed individuals.
7. Opening tenders: rating systems for internal tenders in civil service will be eliminated. Instead, the process will be extended to use inter-office tenders and possibly public tenders. At the same time, there is a change in procedures regarding employment of students in civil service to enable them to compete for jobs in the civil service upon completion of their studies.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)