People carry shopping bags as Israel reopens swathes of its economy, while it continues to lift restrictions of a national lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jerusalem
People carry shopping bags in Jerusalem
Photo: Reuters
People carry shopping bags in Jerusalem

Israel to gradually end jobless benefits as economy recovers

Government to cut aid for people younger than 28 and without children as companies — particularly restaurants, hotels and factories — struggle to man positions despite rising job vacancies

Reuters |
Published: 06.01.21 , 19:21
Israel will gradually end jobless benefits as the economy begins recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, starting with people younger than 28 and without children, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.
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  • The government has come under criticism for allowing people to collect state aid, which some economists say is an incentive to not return to work.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    People carry shopping bags as Israel reopens swathes of its economy, while it continues to lift restrictions of a national lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jerusalem
    People carry shopping bags as Israel reopens swathes of its economy, while it continues to lift restrictions of a national lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jerusalem
    People carry shopping bags in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Israel extended benefits last year to those who lost their jobs or were furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic and Finance Minister Israel Katz had said they might be extended past June 30.
    But after discussions with ministry staff and other officials, Katz opted to only extend benefits to those over 28 or unemployed with children through 2021 "in light of a positive economic data trend and after three months of removing health restrictions," the ministry said.
    With COVID-19 infections down to just a handful a day and total active cases down to 340 across Israel, the economy is fully opened, though restrictions remain on incoming tourism. Some 55% of Israel's population has already been vaccinated.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ישראל כץ בריאיון באולפן
    ישראל כץ בריאיון באולפן
    Finance Minister Israel Katz
    (Photo: Kobi Koankes)
    As of Tuesday, restrictions on social distancing and the need for special green vaccination passes to enter certain restaurants and venues were scrapped.
    Israel's unemployment rate has fallen to below 7% from a peak of 27% last year at the height of the crisis.
    Yet, companies — particularly restaurants, hotels and factories — have complained that they are having trouble finding workers, while official data show a rise in job vacancies.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    people eat in a restaurant as restrictions are eased following months of government-imposed shutdowns, in Tel Aviv
    people eat in a restaurant as restrictions are eased following months of government-imposed shutdowns, in Tel Aviv
    Diners at a restaurant in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AP)
    TV channels have aired interviews with Israelis on the beaches in Tel Aviv saying there was no reason to work when they are being paid not to.
    Ron Tomer, president of Israel's Manufacturers' Association, said the decision to stop benefits for 28 and older was a step in the right direction that would end the "disease of unpaid leave."
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