McDonalds CEO Dr. Omri Padan

McDonalds Israel halts Saturday employment of Jewish teens

Fast food chain dismisses some 800 youths from weekend shifts due to bolstered enforcement of labor laws; mega chain to employ minority groups instead. McDonalds CEO to petition HCJ on issue

McDonalds Israel has notified the 773 teens the company had employed for weekend shifts that they will no longer be allowed to work on Saturdays due to bolstered enforcement of labor laws.


The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry has announced it will fine companies NIS 35,000 for employing Jewish teens on Saturdays.


Under the Youth Employment Law, it is illegal to have Jewish youth employees work during the Sabbath.


The fast food chain predicts that most of the young employees will leave their job since they will no longer be paid a 150% hourly wage that they would have received while working over the weekends.


"McDonalds will no longer employ youths under the age of 17.5 on Saturdays," a spokesperson for the food chain told Ynet. The chain does not plan to shut down the various branches, but rather intends to employ minority groups over the weekend, since their employment is not illegal in Israel.


The ministry intends to send inspectors to various branches of the popular chain in effort to verify that no law has been broken.


McDonalds' CEO Dr. Omri Padan told Ynet that he intends to petition the High Court of Justice on the issue. According to Padan, the existing law discriminates the youths who do wish to work over the weekend and earn a higher salary.


Padan further said that the chain suggested several alternatives to the existing law. For example, youths will only be permitted to work on Saturdays twice a month and will receive a 150% hourly wage. However, according to Padan, his suggestions were immediately turned down.


According to data presented by the food chain, some 4% of Jewish teens in Israel are employed on Saturdays, thus leaving 96% of the employers susceptible to significant fines.


Meanwhile, Ministry sources have praised the recent enforcement of labor laws. "It shocks me that lawbreaking employers dare to even voice their financial concern over having to dismiss their employees. They have been breaking the law and they cannot continue to do so anymore," said the Ministry's legal advisor Michael Atlan.


This would not be the first time that the franchise has committed offenses. Just one month ago, the Ministry's legal department filed an indictment against Padan listing 19 counts.


The company claims that the existing law was enacted in the 1950's and therefore is no longer relevant to Israel's workforce.


"The law's initial purpose was to protect youths, who in those years primarily worked. However, due to Israel's adoption of Compulsory Education Laws, most teens study during the week, and in their spare time over the weekend, they would rather work in order to provide for themselves or for their families," said a spokesperson for the fast food chain.


"Working over the weekend allows teens to earn a higher salary due to the employment terms which entail a 150% hourly wage," the spokesperson added.


The company spokesperson further stated that the law that forbids employers from hiring Jewish youths during the day of rest has not been enforced since its enactment and therefore is irrelevant.


Avital Lahav contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 06.19.12, 13:33
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