2 September 2014

Use sick leave for absences due to childbirth and pregnancy of a spouse

Is your spouse pregnant?  If so, beyond the possibility of paternity leave, the law entitles you to medical leave on the occasion of birth and for some medical treatments.

In the “National Labour Law Profile: The State of Israel” by Judge Stephen Adler, then President of the National Labor Court of Israel, summarized:

The Sick Pay (Absence Due to Pregnancy and Childbirth of a Partner) Law, 2000 provides for… seven days of paid leave per year for medical treatments or exams connected with the partner’s pregnancy or for the birth of a child.

Of course, as with any law, the details are important.  Below are some important caveats, as excerpted from the full text of the law: חוק דמי מחלה (היעדרות עקב הריון ולידה של בת זוג), התש”ס-2000.

  1. You are entitled to use up to 7 days from your accrued medical leave.
  2. You may be required to submit a signed declaration (see a blank form under “הצהרה” in the law).  You may also be required to submit a doctor’s note or other documentation of the medical event.
  3. A regular medical appointment does not qualify.  The following situations are among those that do:
    1. Delivery – from contractions until 24 hours after birth
    2. Accompanying of the spouse to a treatment or checkup in connection with the pregnancy which necessitates the assistance of the other person (i.e. the employee).
    3. Accompanying of the spouse to a treatment or checkup in connection with the pregnancy which represents a risk to the life of the spouse or the fetus.

Good news for all you new fathers; you can save those vacation days for when you really need it.  Of course, I am not an employment lawyer, and you should read the law for full details.  בשעה טובה!

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Comments

  1. Hi! Do you have information about whether one can use sick days to help a sick parent who lives overseas?

  2. Using sick leave entitles you to only a fraction of your salary for those days you use. If you are absent for less than 3 days, that is only about 70% of your salary. If it is more than 3 days, then the first three are 50% of your salary and everything beyond that is 70%. This should be double checked with an accountant or salary accountant at your workplace before you decide how to take those days. It may very well make more sense to take the vacation days so that at least you don’t lose salary for the days you take.

    • Yehuda, very good point you are raising. You are right that there are some people who may take home less money at the end of the month by using sick days instead of vacation days. However, there are three other points I might suggest be considered:
      1. Many employers do more than the legal minimum and allow people to take sick days while keeping their full salary instead of paying them at a reduced rate for the sick days.
      2. The fact that taking a vacation day instead of a sick day would allow someone to keep their full salary (as in point 1) is true all the time and in all cases where one can take sick leave. In other words, if a person is considering taking a vacation day during the birth of his child instead of a sick day because he will get paid less, he should also consider taking a vacation day instead of sick leave when he has the flu and decides not to go into work.
      3. If a person uses a vacation day when he could have used a sick day, he will have less vacation days available later on.

  3. Chana says:

    I’m very glad to read this. Previously, I had thought that the clock on paternity leave (if you get a few days from your employer) starts immediately after the birth. I’m happy to see that the first day after the birth can still count towards sick leave, so those paternity leave days stretch a bit further. Thanks for the post!

    • Chana, as you allude to, the law states that the allowances described above do not detract from any privileges the employee enjoys already by contract or otherwise. I, for one, wish I had known about this earlier!

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