Unemployment is a benefit available to those who have willingly or unwillingly left their place of employment and meet certain eligibility requirements. It involves two different offices: Lishkat Hataasukah (Employment Bureau); and Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute). Lishkat Hataasukah monitors the unemployed and assists them in re-entering the workforce by offering jobs suited to their previous training and experience. Bituach Leumi provides monthly unemployment payments for the duration of eligibility.
- You are recognized by Bituach Leumi as a resident of Israel (i.e. you are a member of Bituach Leumi).
- You were legally employed. (Self-employed workers are not eligible.)
- You are between 20 and 67 years old.
- In the past, one had to show receipt of official pay stubs for a minimum of 12 out of the 18 months prior to ceasing work, and unemployment insurance was paid to Bituach Leumi for that time. Since the advent of Corona, one may apply for unemployment if they have official pay stubs for at least 6 months. Maternity pay, sick leave, bed rest, days of mourning and other periods of paid leave are counted toward the 12-month total. Approved unpaid leaves may extend the 18-month window, e.g. if one took extended unpaid maternity leave.
- You have been fired from or willingly left your job.
Am I eligible if I quit?
“Legitimate” reasons for quitting include a decline in one’s own health or in that of a family member, worsening of working conditions so that the job is no longer suitable, or moving far away from the place of work (60 km away from workplace; only 40 km for the mother of a child under 7 years of age). You must present proof of these reasons to avoid a delayed start to your unemployment payments.
If you do not have a “legitimate” reason for quitting, you will only begin to receive unemployment payments 90 days after ceasing work. Reporting at Lishkat Hataasukah immediately is not as imperative, but still recommended.
Chalat (literally: unpaid vacation)
During the Corona crisis, the working public became familiar with the term “chalat”, an acronym for chofesh l’lo tashlum, or unpaid vacation. This term was used when an employee was laid off for an indefinite period. It is important to note that a worker on chalat is able to apply for unemployment, even if he plans on returning to his job at a later date, if possible.
If one is unable to work due to a work-related injury, e.g. one that occured on the way to or from work or while performing a work-related task, it is worthwhile to explore teunat avodah benefits. While this is a longer process and demands extra paperwork and medical proofs, it grants those eligible a significantly larger stipend than does standard unemployment.
How Do I Apply for Unemployment?
Step One: Report at Lishkat Hataasukah
As soon as you stop working, report at Lishkat Hataasukah. It is critical that this be done immediately. You can either register immediately online via the Taasukah website (available to teudat zehut holders only), then appear in person within 14 days. Visa holders should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance registering.
You will be asked to provide the following:
- Teudat zehut or foreign passport with valid visa
- Proof of loss of job, proof of legitimate reason for quitting, or letter declaring quitting for no legitimate reason
- Any professional certification (teaching certificate, college degree, etc.) that you may have (optional)
Lishkat Hataasukah will register you as unemployed from the date that you first register. They will take your fingerprints and give you a form that needs to be brought to Bituach Leumi to begin the payment application process. They will also give you a day of the week and time slot that you must appear at on a weekly basis to “sign in” at the machine at the left side of the entrance, using your teudat zehut or Bituach Leumi number, in order to maintain your unemployed status and continue receiving Bituach Leumi payments, assuming that Bituach Leumi deems you eligible. Please note: Pregnant women from the 20th week and people over 50 will be required to appear only once a month.
Lishkat Hataasukah is also responsible to offer you job interviews in various potential places of employment. They will begin to do this sometime into your period of eligibility at your weekly sign-ins.
Step Two: File Your Status with Bituach Leumi
Submit the required paperwork to Bituach Leumi no more than 12 months from the time you stopped working. Payments will not be retroactively issued for more than 12 months.
Paperwork may be submitted by mail, by fax, via the service box outside the Bituach Leumi branch near you, via Internet upload using your personal online Bituach Leumi account, or using the online tool on the Bituach Leumi website.
You will need:
- Form BL1500 – unemployment claim form (not necessary when submitting paperwork using the online tool)
- Proof of earnings: a letter from your previous employer(s) or tlushim certifying the amount of earnings for 12 out of the 18 months preceding unemployment. Make sure to include the last 6 months’ tlushim. If you still hold a second job, present tlushim from that job, as well (see Partial Unemployment below).
- Proof of ceasing to work: certification from employer, including the reason you were let go, the date you stopped working, his signature and his stamp; or, in the case of quitting for a legitimate reason, proof of that reason.
- Certifications from the tax authorities regarding tax exemptions or discounts, if applicable
- Bank account details
- For those without a teudat zehut: physical representation of your bank account, i.e. a void check or a letter from your bank titled ishur nihul cheshbon
Once your claim has been processed through Bituach Leumi, you should begin receiving unemployment payments on approximately the 17th of every month. You can view the payment schedule for different Bituach Leumi benefits online. Monthly payments from Bituach Leumi are contingent on weekly sign-ins at Lishkat Hataasukah.
If you cannot make it to your weekly sign-in due to sickness, bring proof in the form of a doctor’s note the next time you sign in and present it to a clerk. If you will be unable to sign in due to vacation, clear it with a clerk beforehand. There are some cases when it is not permitted; in other cases, Lishkat Hataasukah may even accommodate by extending your allotted eligibility window and issuing payment at a later date.
Avtalah Chelkit (Partial Unemployment)
Avtalah chelkit is a partial unemployment benefit that applies to one who has left or lost one of two or more jobs. After registering in Lishkat Hataasukah as described above, one must file for avtalah chelkit at Bituach Leumi and present tlushim from both the job he lost and the job(s) he still holds. Keeping up avtalah chelkit payments requires both the weekly sign-in at Lishkat Hataasukah as well as presenting the tlush of the current job to Bituach Leumi each month. This can be done via fax or internet upload; it helps to have a personal online account set up with Bituach Leumi. Bituach Leumi will take your ongoing income into account when calculating the partial unemployment you deserve.
Period & Rate of Eligibility
The maximum duration of your unemployment status will range from 138 to 175 days, depending on your age and how many dependents (i.e. spouse and children) you provide for. Note that Bituach Leumi does have a maximum distribution limit per month. If your deserved allotment exceeds this limit, your payments will be distributed at smaller increments over a longer period of time. Refusing a job offer from Lishkat Hataasukah results in a loss of 30 days’ allowance.
The rate of eligibility is determined based on (a) your age and (b) the average of your income in the six full months preceding your first report to Lishkat Hataasukah. The less you earned and the older you are, the larger a percentage of your average you will receive. For example, someone over age 28 who was earning approximately 3,000 NIS per month will receive 80% of his last six months’ average salary each month, while one who is under age 28 and was earning approximately 8,000 NIS per month will receive only 50%.
Glossary of Terms
- Avtalah – unemployment
- Avtalah chelkit – partial unemployment
- Chalat – unpaid vacation
- Chofesh – vacation
- Dmei avtalah – unemployment pay
- Hityatzvut – appearing weekly at Lishkat Hataasukah
- Teunat avodah – workplace injury
- Tlush (pl. tlushim) – official pay stub(s)
Lishkat Hataasukah, Jerusalem
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 8:30 am-11:30 am
Phone: 077-271-8800 or *9687 (press 4 for English)
Phone hours: Sunday through Thursday 8:00 am-4:00 pm
Bituach Leumi, Jerusalem
Shimon ben Shetach 4
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 am-1:00 pm; Monday 3:00 pm-5:00 pm