By Paloma Sela, Senior Paralegal |
Any employer of foreign national in Israel must provide its foreign workers and experts who were relocated to Israel to work at their profession and expertise. The housing obligation is determined by the Foreign Workers Law and its regulations, which determine the specific characteristics of housing standards.
Nowadays, many companies are required to mobilize foreign experts from all over the world to work in various fields in Israel. These foreign nationals are employed in Israel as technicians, care providers, engineers, senior executives, and more in the field of high-tech, transportation, energy, agriculture, food, and more.
During each year, thousands of foreign workers come to Israel for short and long periods, ranging from several days, months, and even years.
The housing obligation is imposed on the employer rather than on the employee, and therefore the employer must provide fair housing for the foreign workers / foreign experts. The rationale behind the law is to prevent any harm to foreign workers. It should be noted that the State of Israel guarantees the foreign worker the same rights as any other Israeli national and even enhanced protections resulting from his lack of knowledge of the language and the law.
Rights of foreign workers / foreign experts include:
- Work permit: A valid B-1 work visa.
- Medical insurance: Employers of foreign workers are obligated to provide their foreign workers with private medical insurance throughout the employment period.
- Adequate housing: The employer must provide the foreign worker with suitable housing that meets the conditions outlined in the relevant regulations, throughout the employee’s period of employment.
- Employment agreement: An employer of a foreign worker is obligated to agree with the employee in a written employment agreement, detailing the terms of employment of the employee, in a language that the employee can understand. Failure to sign an employment contract with a foreign worker constitutes a criminal offense.
- Wages: The wages of foreign workers, for specialist workers, must be double the average wage in the Israeli economy.
The obligation to provide adequate housing to the foreign worker stems from this sincere care for the foreigner employees’ rights.
Foreign worker regulations (adequate housing) for the foreign employee or foreign expert
The employer must provide the foreign worker with adequate housing that meets the conditions outlined in the relevant regulations, throughout the employee’s period of work and at least 7 days after the end of the work. The employer may deduct from the employee’s salary expenses incurred concerning housing, in the manner and amounts permitted by law, and directly affected by the place of residence.
Minimal conditions will include:
- Sleeping area of at least 4 square meters per employee,
- No more than six employees in one room,
- Personal closets,
- Bedding for each employee,
- Heating and ventilation,
- Lighting and electrical outlets in a reasonable number in each room,
- Hot and cold water in the bathroom, kitchen, and showers;
- Counters and kitchen cabinets, burners for cooking, refrigerator, table, and chairs,
- Washing machine for six workers,
- fire extinguisher,
- There must be reasonable access to residences as well as bathrooms.