By Amit Acco, Partner |

Consider this scenario: Sterling Israel Ltd.  have a multi- office complex that caters 120 of its own employees.  The site owner (or “service orderer), Sterling Israel Ltd., contracts a third-party company, Zenith Services (or “Contractor”), to provide cleaning and security services. What are Sterling Israel Ltd. responsibility towards the cleaning and security services foreign employees working within Sterling Israel Limited?

Israeli law operates under the presumption that a foreign employee is under the employment of the site owner. As such, the legal responsibilities associated with the employment of foreign nationals may be divided among the site owner, contractor, and sub-contractors. The main element of the law is the addition of administrative enforcement on top of criminal enforcement. The difference will apply by issuing administrative notices and imposing financial sanctions on employers of all employees and not only on employers of contractor employees and those ordering services of contractor employees. The financial sanctions will be imposed in a graduated manner: a warning first, a sanction after that, and only finally criminal enforcement.

The rationale behind imposing dual responsibility on both the ordering company and the service provider stems from the inherent vulnerability of employees in these sectors, particularly when they are foreign nationals. Their susceptible position can often expose them to potential exploitation or inequitable practices. By holding both parties accountable, the intention is to ensure fair treatment, adequate compensation, and overall protection for these workers.

What are the requirements of the Law on Increasing Enforcement

In accordance with Section 28 of the Law on Increasing Enforcement, a customer ordering services from a service contractor in the fields of cleaning, catering or guarding and security, will be responsible towards the service contractor’s employees, among other things, if the minimum wage cost within the contract between them is less than the value of an hour of work. The law also stated that the minister will install regulations that will determine what the value of an hour of work is as stated.

According to the regulations, The customer of the services may require the contractor, within the framework of the agreement between them, to present to him documents attesting to the payment of salary components to his employees.

In the case of a service orderer, in the areas of guarding, security, cleaning and catering, the law allows:

  1. Imposing a financial sanction by the inspector on behalf of the Ministry of Labor ;
  2. Filing of a claim by the employee against the person ordering the service in civil law;
  3. Filing an indictment also against the person ordering the service for the same offense for which the contractor employing the employee is accused.

Also, the law allows a financial sanction procedure against a general manager of a corporation who employed an employee and violated a provision according to the law. A criminal offense of the responsibility of the manager of a public authority that employs a violator of rights has been established, as well as the criminal responsibility of a manager ordering a service that is a corporation or a public authority has been established.

How can the client protect himself?

In the event that the customer of the service acts as stated in the law to check the existence of the rights of the contractor’s employees, the customer of the service is granted protection against liability for violations of the rights of the contractor’s employees.

In some cases we have found mitigating aspects that allowed us to defend a case of site owenr, and each case must be checked in details on its merits.