Can the employer force employees to get vaccinated? The complete guide to Israeli law

Following the arrival of the shipment of vaccines against the corona to Israel, the question arises whether it is possible to force citizens to be vaccinated? Especially in light of conspiracy theories, which are spread by vaccine refusers. It is important to know that, as of today, there is no law in the State of Israel that requires the population to take any vaccines. And yet, it is also clear that vaccines are the key to returning to a normal life and maintaining public health.

Just as the virus has fatally affected the labor market in Israel and around the world, the issue of vaccines also affects the Israeli employment market – employers and workers alike. Attorney and CPA Nimrod Ratner, CEO of the Chamber of Wage Specialists and an expert in labor law, helped us try and understand what the law says about everyday issues, which can happen in any firm.

Can an employer require an employee to be vaccinated before returning to work?

“As a general rule, an employer must not require an employee to be vaccinated before arriving at the workplace. This is the current situation. The employer can of course ask his employees to get vaccinated or encourage them to do so, but he cannot oblige.”

If the employee refuses to be vaccinated, is the employer allowed to demand that he not come to the office Or even fire him?

“As long as the law is not changed and there is no constitutional obligation for the employer to vaccinate the employees, the employer cannot demand from the employee not to come to the office or fire him because he has not been vaccinated,” Advocate Ratner explains the dry law. Public and vaccinated: “Many businesses today work in capsules, the only thing the employer can do is continue to allow the employee to work in capsules or work from home, in the same format he worked before the vaccine arrived, and allow the vaccinated workers to get out of the capsules and work freely.”

However, it is important for Adv. Ratner to add that the vaccine cannot be a cause for discrimination between employees: . Creating discrimination can cause the employee to sue you for discrimination in the workplace. “Usually, a claim for discrimination in the workplace concerns aspects such as the prevention of professional advancement, wages, working conditions, etc.

In fact, an employee who chooses not to endanger the public, risks himself in a lawsuit. If so, is it possible to condition the illness on a vaccine?

“As long as the law is not changed and there is no constitutional obligation on the employer to vaccinate the workers, he can not condition it. If there is an employer who chooses to return to work from the sick only the workers who will be vaccinated – currently, he breaks the law Repeat and emphasize.

Corona vaccine, corona in the world, vaccine, corona vaccine (Photo: Reuters)
Can an employer require an employee to be vaccinated before returning to work? | Photo: Reuters

In your opinion, based on your experience, will the legislature change the law regarding the charging of vaccines? Is it practical at all?

“Currently, there is no law in the State of Israel that requires the population to take any vaccines. However, on the Knesset table is already the Vaccines Law, which MK Tali Ploskov from the Likud is trying to promote. “This is a law designed to prevent a situation where a life-threatening disease spreads despite the existence of a vaccine – but the emphasis is mainly on the obligation to vaccinate infants up to the age of two, and it is not certain that it will be relevant for the corona,” Rotner explains. For the age of.

“On the face of it, a vaccination law can certainly be enacted; there are already democracies, including France and Italy, that require certain vaccinations to be vaccinated. However, enacting such a law in Israel will face legal objections, which will complicate the process, and also due to some conflict with patient rights law.” .

The Patient Rights Law, cited by Adv. Ratner, was enacted in 1996, with the aim of determining the rights of the person seeking medical treatment or receiving medical treatment and protecting his dignity and privacy. The provisions of the law apply to every person (and not, for example, only to residents or citizens of Israel), who seeks or receives medical treatment, and places special emphasis on his or her human dignity, and privacy.

Am I entitled to a day off to get vaccinated? At my expense or at the expense of the employer?

As long as there is no legal obligation, or other instruction on behalf of the state, an employee who takes a day off to go get vaccinated should know that this day off is at his expense, just as taking a day off to get vaccinated against the flu is at the expense of the employee off days. This is the situation at the moment, but in light of the great efforts of the Israeli government to encourage citizens to get vaccinated, it is not inconceivable that this will change in the future. “

I was vaccinated in light of the employer’s request – and I have a fever or side effects. Are the sick days at the employer’s expense or at my expense?

“If, God forbid, the employee has side effects that do not allow him to get to work, the rest days he will take to recover will be similar to sick days, and the employee will have to get approval from his family doctor. The employee will receive sick leave in accordance with the law or contract.” .

Can I, as an employee, tell my employer that I am not willing to come to work as long as there are people who are not vaccinated?

“As a general rule, an employee has no right to condition his or her return to the workplace on the grounds that all employees are not vaccinated,” explains Adv. Ratner.

Attorney and CPA Nimrod Ratner, CEO of the Chamber of Wage Specialists | Photo: Tamar Mitzpi

I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, so at this point I can not get vaccinated. Can the boss ask me to return to work from the office?

“This is a complex issue that is not unequivocal, for example, if the worker is pregnant at risk. On the face of it, as far as is known so far, the vaccine being used in Israel has not been tested on pregnant and lactating women. “The employee is pregnant or breastfeeding and has so far worked from home, and can be allowed to continue working from home – this is preferable. In general, the employer can ask the employee to return to work in the office, but the employee may refuse if there is a medical concern that coming to the office will endanger her and / or the fetus.”

“There is a solution to this in the Women’s Labor Law,” notes Adv. Ratner. “The employer is obligated to try to find an alternative job or position that does not endanger her or her pregnancy, and if he cannot find a suitable alternative position under similar pay conditions, the employee can go on unpaid leave. “And demand unemployment benefits. In general, in such cases, it is desirable that the employer shows understanding of the situation and thus the good working relationship will be maintained.”