The Legal Department of Kayan Feminist Organization recently published a position paper on Israel’s Minimum Wage Law (1987), examining existing problems with its application in general and in particular with regard to female Palestinian citizens of Israel in the workforce. The paper outlines the inadequate application of labor laws by the Ministry of Economy and offers recommendations in order to protect the rights of working Arab women and to increase their incentive to enter into the workforce.
Among the most important recommendations made in the paper is the legal enforcement directorate of the Ministry of Economy to increase the number of workers responsible for oversight and compliance with the law, in addition to creating an extensive awareness-raising program directing special attention to application of the law. Such changes would be especially critical in geographical peripheries and areas with marginalized populations as well as in workplaces that employ women and Arab women in particular.
The position paper has been distributed to all relevant authorities and public representatives in the effort to make the issue a priority among legal enforcement authorities in the Ministry of Economy and to increase the Ministry’s efforts in matters relating to labor law compliance and Arab women. “The Minimum Wage Law has both immense economic and social significance,” explained attorney Rawyah Handaklow of Kayan’s Legal Department. “It was enacted to prevent the exploitation of women by their employers, to ensure a reasonable standard of living, and to promote the entry of women into the workforce.”
“However,” Handaklow pointed out, “efforts by authorities responsible for ensuring compliance with the law have clearly been inadequate, leading to the exploitation by stakeholders of many workers – especially women. Consequently, it is critical to address the issue on two levels: raise awareness within the general community and among women in particular about labor rights, and to ensure greater compliance with the laws on the part of the Ministry of Economy, especially with regard to the Arab community.”
In order to further promote this topic, Kayan’s staff utilizes three strategies: first, providing free legal consultation and representation in all matters regarding labor rights. Second, Kayan is working to raise awareness about the issue and introduce it to the public agenda, especially among decision-makers and government authorities. Third, policy change and legal proceedings against employers and government institutions that fail to meet their legal obligations towards workers.
Kayan urges any woman in need of advice or support with regard to labor rights and the workforce not to hesitate to contact Kayan representatives.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Bokra Net.
Link to the position paper in Arabic.
Translation into English: Tova Reznicek
Editing: Claudia Flach