Economy Minister Naftali Bennett
says Jewish employees praying Shacharit (the daily morning prayer) will be allowed to be 30 minutes late to work if their shift begins before 8 am.
The decision follows the delay the return to Standard Time in Israel
to the end of October, instead of before the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur
taking place this weekend.
The workers who come in late will have to return the half hour at the end of their workday or at any other time determined by their employer.
Following the delay in moving back to Standard Time, towards the end of October the sun is expected to rise after 6:30 am, preventing employees who start working before 7:30 am from praying Shacharit. This situation will only last a few days, until October 27, when Standard Time is implemented.
Officials at Bennett's office have already drafted the proposal and submitted it to the review of workers and employers' organizations. According to the draft proposal, the Working and Rest Hours Act will be changed so that on days when the sun rises after 6:30 am, employees whose working day begins before 8 am will be allowed to show up to work 30 minutes late.
"This is an important solution for the public of worshippers who wake up to work at an early hour," said Bennett, who is also chairman of the national-religious Habayit Hayehudi
"The suggested permit offers an appropriate solution, which creates a balance between the needs of observant workers and the needs of employers, whose activity should not suffer as a result of the delay in sunrise at certain times of the year.
"The situation has created a clear need, which justifies a deviation from the Working and Rest Hours Act, and I am glad that the law allows this flexibility and grants me the authority to help Jews to pray properly, especially on these days of self-examination and prayer."
Bennett's proposal does offer a more convenient solution to a problem concerning some worshippers. It should be mentioned, however, that this is a short-term problem and that the law already allows an employee to take a 30-minute break to pray during the working day.