Israel’s unemployment rate reached 26.1% after 6,693 new job seekers registered with the state’s Employment Service on Monday, April 13, a daily increase of nearly a thousand more new applicants for unemployment benefits compared to the 5,713 workers who reported themselves out of work on Tuesday, April 7, the last working day before the Passover holiday. These latest figures bring the current total number of registered unemployed in Israel to 1,085,461.
At the start of March, when social distancing orders affecting places of work were first issued, the rate of unemployment in Israel was below 4%. Since then more than 935,000 Israelis have registered for unemployment benefits, the vast majority of them after having being placed on unpaid leave due to the coronavirus crisis.
However, the director of the state’s Employment Service, Rami Garor, has admitted that “We are monitoring with great concern the rise in the number of people laid off compared to those who were put on unpaid leave; a trend that already began two weeks ago, and expresses the growing difficulty for businesses in Israel in being able to commit to returning their workers when the crisis passes.
On Saturday, April 11, sources in the Finance Ministry told the Kan public broadcaster that over 400,000 people who have been laid off or placed on unpaid leave due to the coronavirus crisis will remain unemployed even after the lock down is lifted.
Earlier on Monday, April 13, Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) petitioned the High Court against an emergency regulation that allows employers to place pregnant women on unpaid leave during the current crisis. This petition by the Hadash lawmaker came in the wake of an emergency measure approved by the far-right government last week which allows employers to put pregnant employees on unpaid leave without first having obtained a special permit. This emergency regulation also applies to employees engaged in surrogacy adoption or residing in a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.