Israel to phase out jobless benefits as economy recovers
Israel will phase out jobless benefits as the economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, starting with people under 28 and childless, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.
The government has been criticized for allowing people to collect state aid, which some economists say is an incentive not to return to work.
Israel extended benefits last year to those who lost their jobs or were fired due to the coronavirus pandemic and Finance Minister Israel Katz had said they could be extended beyond June 30 .
But after discussions with ministry staff and other officials, Katz chose to extend benefits only to those over 28 or unemployed with children until 2021 “in light of a positive trend economic data and after three months of removal of health restrictions, ”the ministry said.
With COVID-19 infections dropping to just a handful per day and the total number of active cases at 340 across Israel, the economy is completely open, although restrictions remain on inbound tourism. Some 55% of the Israeli population has already been vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, restrictions on social distancing and the need for special green vaccination passes to enter certain restaurants and venues have been removed.
Israel’s unemployment rate fell below 7%, from a peak of 27% last year at the height of the crisis.
Still, companies – especially restaurants, hotels and factories – have complained about struggling to find workers, while official data shows an increase in job vacancies.
TV stations broadcast interviews with Israelis on the beaches of Tel Aviv, saying there is no reason to work when they are paid not to.
Ron Tomer, president of the Israeli Manufacturers Association, said the decision to stop benefits for 28 years and over was a step in the right direction that would end the “sick leave without pay”.
“This will create a real incentive for the unemployed to return to the labor market,” he said, adding that further measures will be needed to get people to work since there are now 130,000 vacant positions in the labor market. ‘economy.
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