Maternity Leave rules in Israel – What an employer need to know

Maternity Leave in Israel
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Maternity Leave in Israel is a very complex matter. Even before a child is born, both parents are entitled, and encouraged to spend time with, support the other parent, and share the joy (and the challenges) of adjusting to the new addition to the family.

For an employer though, Maternity Leave in Israel can be a minefield. Understanding the rights and obligations of both parents from planning a family (fertility treatments), through pregnancy, child birth and looking after the new born, can be quite complex. In this article I’ll aim to provide the highlights, as we have (as employers) experienced over the past few years.

Fertility treatment

Women’s right to having a family begins from the very beginning of the family planning process. The law in Israel protects the mothers-to-be from the very beginning of the process. Women’s jobs are protected whilst they are undergoing fertility treatments. Employers are prohibited from putting any sanctions, due to frequent absence from work, and certainly they are prohibited from firing women during their fertility treatment period. Similar protection also applies to men undergoing fertility treatments. For more information about female employees during fertility treatments visit Kol Zchut.


A pregnant employee is required to disclose her pregnancy to her employer during the 5th month of her pregnancy. An employer is entitled to summon a pregnant employee for a disciplinary hearing. The employer can not terminate the employment without a special permission from the Labour Ministry, women commissioner.

A pregnant employee’s job is protected from her first day of employment. It is certainly forbidden to terminate an employee due to her pregnancy, under any circumstances.

Maternity leave

An employee who gave birth is entitled to a maternity leave from her employer. During a portion of that leave period, the National Insurance Office will pay her Maternity Allowance.
> An employee who worked for an employer for 1 year or more, is entitle to 26 weeks leave. She can take 7 weeks off before the birth.
> An employee who worked for an employer less than 1 year, is entitle to 15 weeks leave. She can take 7 weeks off before the birth.


Paternity leave

Employees whose female spouses are entitled to maternity leave are entitled to share the leave with the mother, and under certain conditions even to stay on leave with her for a week.
An employee whose infant is under their care and not the care of the mother due to her disability or illness, is entitled to paternity leave
Employees may be entitled to maternity pay during maternity leave, depending on the circumstances.
An employer may not prevent an employee from going on paternity leave, or dismiss an employee during the leave and for 60 days thereafter.


Things to consider about Maternity Leave

An employer wishing to reduce the scope of an employee’s position, or reduce her salary, can only do so with a special permit in advance from the Ministry of Labor, in each of the following cases:

> The employee is pregnant and has 6 months of tenure in the workplace

> If the employee’s tenure is shorter, a permit is not required, but it is prohibited to reduce her job for a reason of her pregnancy.

> The employee was on maternity leave and returned to work less than 60 days ago.

> The employee was in the hospital after maternity leave and returned to work less than 60 days prior.

> The employee is undergoing (or shortly after undergoing) fertility treatments, as detailed below:

* If the employee was absent from work due to fertility treatments, then the need for a permit applies during the days of absence and during the 150 days thereafter.

* If the employee is not absent from work, the need for a permit applies up to 150 days after the beginning of treatments, and if the treatments last beyond 150 days then a dismissal permit is required for as long as the treatments continue – all provided the employee is employed for at least 6 months.

The reduction in wages may have implications for the employee’s pension rights and her rights in the National Insurance Institute.


Maternity leave does not affect the employee’s tenure (for social benefits accumulation) in the workplace.

During maternity leave, the employee continues to accumulate social rights granted according to seniority in the workplace, such as convalescence allowance, annual leave, sick days and severance pay.

The legal relationship between employee and employer continues during the leave period.

At the same time, the number of annual vacation days to which the employee is entitled during the year in which he / she went on maternity / paternity leave will be determined according to the number of working days he / she actually worked in that year.

More specific information is available upon request –

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