Working in Israel?
Job Hunting and Working Conditions
Most expat jobs in Israel are part of an intra-company transfer or a foreign assignment. If you are interested in searching for a new job on your own, you should know that many positions in Israeli companies are found by word-of-mouth advertising rather than on the open market.
This trend is due to Israel’s (and thus the business world’s) small size and the fairly informal, almost familial atmosphere that prevails in many companies. However, this tendency may confront foreign applicants with some obstacles during their job search from abroad.
The Best Job Search Strategies
It is possible to find an appropriate vacancy simply by scanning the classified ads in the online version of the Jerusalem Post or on Internet job portals, such as israemploy, Jobsin Tel Aviv or Jobs-Israel. For selected fields like IT or biotechnology, there are specialized search engines (e.g. BioTechJobs).
However, it’s by far a better approach to research some Israeli companies in your field of employment that you would like to work for and to contact them pro-actively. Talking in person to an HR representative may be of even greater importance than in other countries. It’s essential to make a personal impression on the people who should become interested in hiring you.
If you need an alternative way to start networking in the Israeli business world, then look for work as a freelancer for an Israeli company or a new client base in Israel. For IT jobs like software developer or graphic designer, for instance, this could be a feasible route. If you plan on moving to Israel as a Jewish migrant, you should also look for a job placement via an aliya organization.
Applying for a Job
The application process itself is more informal than in many other countries. Sending along a cover letter and an up-to-date CV may be enough. Diplomas, certificates, and references are often not necessary. Professional licenses for certain occupations, e.g. in the medical sector, are a big exception, though. If you don’t have the legal requirements to carry out your occupation or trade in Israel, finding a job from abroad will be extremely difficult or downright impossible.
For both new residents and self-made expats, some Hebrew skills are definite a bonus. English is widespread in the Israeli business world. Some basic or advanced knowledge of Ivrit will make you stand out, though.
Minimum Salary and Maximum Working Hours
As a foreign employee in Israel, you are legally required to receive a written contract in a language you can understand. Even your Hebrew isn’t really up to par, you should have no trouble with checking out your actual working conditions beforehand. The current monthly minimum wage is 4,650 ISL, but this salary (about 1,062 EUR or 1,183 USD in September 2015) mostly applies to legal migrant laborers rather than highly-qualified expatriates.
Working hours in Israel range from 40 to 45 hours a week or from 160 to 211 hours per month. They depend on your individual position as well as the sector you are employed in. (For example, the legal maximum for laborers in the construction industry is pretty high.)
Working Conditions: Annual Leave and National Insurance
According to local labor laws, you are entitled to 14–21 days of annual leave (if you work six days per week), depending on the number of years you have been with the same employer. Moreover, you may be entitled on additional leave on major religious holidays, according to the faith of your choice. Of course, the amount of paid annual leave is something you might want to address during your contract negotiations.
While temporary foreign residents are not eligible for an Israeli state pension, their National Insurance coverage does include accident insurance, compensation for work injuries, up to 90 days of paid sick leave (one and a half days for every month of employment), and maternity allowance. If you are a woman working in Israel who gives birth there and has worked for at least six months before the delivery, you can take up to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave with income-based benefits of up to 1,751 ILS per day.
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