שוק הכרמל בתל אביב ריק
Tel Aviv's usually bustling Carmel Market is deserted
Photo: EPA
Tel Aviv's usually bustling Carmel Market is deserted

Israeli workforce suffers as coronavirus hits businesses

Almost 400,000 registering as unemployed since the start of the month, the newly jobless are struggling to understand what they can expect by way of financial assistance and benefits from their government

Amir Alon, Gad Lior |
Published: 03.19.20 , 23:44
Almost 400,000 people have registered as unemployed in Israel since the start of March as coronavirus restrictions hit businesses hard.
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  • Almost 90 percent of those new claimants were put on unpaid leave and many fear they may never recover financially.
    שוק הכרמל בתל אביב ריקשוק הכרמל בתל אביב ריק
    Tel Aviv's usually bustling Carmel Market is deserted
    (Photo: EPA)
    On Wednesday alone, more than 60,000 people applied for assistance - a rate of 4,700 new applicants an hour.
    Among that number is Omer Mor, a 34-year-old nursery school teacher from Tel Aviv. All educational institutions in Israel have been closed for the foreseeable future - and that includes kindergartens.
    "I have never asked for unemployment benefit before," she says. "I don't even know how much I can expect to receive."
    בית ספר יסודי ב רמת גןבית ספר יסודי ב רמת גן
    A deserted elementary school in Ramat Gan in central Israel
    (Photo: AP)
    Economists estimate that by the end of the month up to 700,000 people will be out of work in Israel, requiring around NIS 5 billion ($1.3 billion) in assistance every month.
    With economic uncertainty and no end to the crisis in sight, many of the newly unemployed have found they are not informed of their rights or what help they can expect to receive from the government.
    עו"ד שרון הורנשטייןעו"ד שרון הורנשטיין
    Sharon Hornstein
    (Photo: Yisrael Hadari)
    Sharon Hornstein, editor-in-chief at the Kol Zchut (every right) website, which provides information on social and civil rights, said a worker who has been forced into unpaid leave for more than 30 days should be eligible for unemployment benefits and should register on the Employment Agency website by March 26.
    Unemployment benefits are given to workers under the age of 67, but older people are sometimes eligible for some income as well, depending on their pensions.

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