Who Pays The Teacher?

(Picture for illustrative purposes)

When my friend Y , his wife and four young children hit the aliya reception area of Ben Gurion Airport, they knew that their real journey had just begun. But even their most dire expectations of grueling times ahead, proved to be optimistic.

The language would be a problem, for sure. School age kids were going to have to adapt incredibly (impossibly?) quickly to avoid integration and educational problems. Socially, they would have to all find their new niches in Ramat Bet Shemesh. Culturally – they knew the feather-bed landing of a large anglo-community would still necessitate struggles with "real" Israelis and the local bureaucracy.

But at least the money and career would be fine. Because Y was starting work that very next Sunday at his pre-arranged, senior job position at a prestigious independent Jerusalem educational organization.

And sure enough, the plans were implemented, and the kids struggled valiantly with the language, new schools, new friends. The family settled in quickly, and enjoyed their new neighbors, shul and community.

Y's job worked out well – he was well appreciated by the students and by the staff. He is a talented educator, inspiring and innovative. Y came home late each night, satisfied that he was giving his all to this new job – and was doing well.

The ONLY problem was the monthly paycheck.

Every month, Y would enquire with the Financial Officer of the institution he taught when his paycheck/s would be arriving, and was reassured that, although the institution indeed had some financial problems, he should not worry.

But not a single check ever arrived. And he had no choice but to worry.

After SIX MONTHS without pay… that's right, gornisht, klum, zilch… all Y's carefully projected financial plans became a disaster. Bills went unpaid. Debts started to mount. And tensions in the family reached snapping point.

At a loss at what to do, Y tendered his resignation. And, with empty pockets, and deep despondency, went job searching.

As Y packed up his books from the staff-room, he delicately told his colleagues what had happened and why he was forced to leave his position.

Y was shocked when his erstwhile friends and colleagues said "we're not surprised, Y."

"With all respect, Y, we thought you must be crazy to take the job in the first place. All your predecessors left for the same reason. Not one of them ever got paid."

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You would be horrified how many families who are forced by poverty into receiving charitable assistance, are working. And of these, how many have been reduced to desperate poverty primarily due to their being abused by their employers.

Caterers, stores, educational institutions, small offices…there is a major problem of employers not meeting their most basic obligations to their employees.

Sometimes, these are simply the result of misfortune or incompetence – the employer took on the employee in good faith, but the facts on the ground changed unpredictably, and now the business can no longer afford the salary bill.

But much of the time it is systematic. Even when the employee was taken on, the employer had no intention to pay them their dues. The employee can become duped, threatened or tempted into continuing working, delivering services, for remarkable periods of time; allowing the employer to abuse the employee, to make ill-gotten, illegal and immoral profits. Be'Shitta. Systematically.

People who work "unofficially" (off-the-books, blackmarket, whatever) are the most prone to being abused – however even they DO have rights under the law.

Today, with the employment situation in Israel reaching crisis proportion, the lack of a fall-back employment option, leaves many workers - even in high-tech - exposed to being exploited or abused by their current employer. "Accept worse conditions than we agreed, or go take a hike".

As with all abuse, the first weapon to avoid being abused is education & information.

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Know Your Employer/Employee Rights & Obligations

Some online resources:

Introduction to Employee Rights http://www.aliyahjobcenter.org/page.php?id=5

Nefesh BeNefesh Resource Page: http://www.nbn.co.il/site/kb/categories/Employment+Rights+/

Terminated? See: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/employee-layoff-rights-israel/

Kav Le'Oved: Protecting workers rights – focused on immigrant workers and Arab labour – also works for Joe Worker too. http://www.kavlaoved.org.il/default_eng.asp

If you live in Ramat Bet Shemesh, and want to know more about your employment rights, call Lema'an Achai's "Rights & Advocacy Center" - 9991553, ask for Meir Jaffe.


Comments

  1. Something puzzling here. To quote from the blog post:

    "As Y packed up his books from the staff-room, he delicately told his colleagues what had happened and why he was forced to leave his position.

    Y was shocked when his erstwhile friends and colleagues said 1we're not surprised, Y.'

    'With all respect, Y, we thought you must be crazy to take the job in the first place. All your predecessors left for the same reason. Not one of them ever got paid.'"

    Why or how are the colleagues still there? Are they also not getting paid for months? Or is it that the employers either pick and choose who to pay or is it that the low men on the seniority totem pole don't get paid??
    And what about that CFO. How is it that I perceive that he's being paid?

    Please explain!

    ReplyDelete

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