JACC puts great effort into keeping the members of our community aware of their rights.
The Rights Advocacy team works hard to organize special events with experts who explain rights and answer questions to make sure community members know what they are entitled to and what they should demand.
The topic of our most recent workshop was labor laws.
We asked Gal Dabush, the project's coordinator, to share some of her thoughts on the experience.
Who ran the rights workshop?
Gal: The rights workshop was run by Noa Kaufman, Coordinator for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Workers at Kav LaOved.
What was the aim of the workshop? What were you hoping community members would gain from it?
Gal: The aim of the workshop was to expose community members to Israeli labor laws, in particular the ones most relevant to asylum seekers.
For example, a new law was just approved by the Knesset that obligates all employed asylum seekers to allocate 20% of their salary, plus 16% additional payment by the employer, to a closed deposit fund.
Our goal was to help asylum seekers become aware of their rights in the workplace, and gain a more solid understanding of minimum wage, pension rights, vacation, overtime pay, severance days, etc, so that they’ll know how to manage themselves correctly in the workplace, demand rights from their employers and seek professional assistance if necessary.
What is a common misunderstanding or misconception asylum seekers have about their rights?
Gal: The first main misconception, directly stemming from Israeli policy (as reflected in 2a(5) visa), is that asylum seekers are illegal workers in Israel. Besides that, a lot of asylum seekers are not aware of the fact they are entitled to every right (the entire field of labor laws) that an Israeli employee is entitled to.
In addition to workshops like this, how does JACC make sure that community members stay informed about their rights?
Gal: JACC has been trying to produce and hand out flyers and pamphlets, all translated to Tigrinya, Arabic and English, that summarize the main rights asylum seekers are entitled to in the workplace. We do this in cooperation with Kav LaOved.
We also hand out Kav LaOved notebooks that can be used by employees to keep track of their shift dates and hours.
Thank you, Gal. We look forward to hearing more about your future events!