Considerations for Global Employers Relating to the Terror Attacks on Israel and the Israel-Hamas War

3 minute read | October.12.2023

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023, and the ensuing Israel-Hamas War, our U.S.-based clients with employees in Israel have asked how they can support their employees, including their legal and statutory obligations.

The following guidelines and best practices may be helpful (and we will update this guidance as needed and in response to your questions).

For Israeli Employees/Employers:

Military Duty in Israel:

  • Israeli employees may be called up for active duty. Most reservists have been called up for active duty already by an emergency order (aka “Order 8”) for an unlimited period.
  • Note that generally the maximum duration of the duty depends on the rank but in general is up to 42 days per year and up to 54-84 days per three-year period. However, in times of war like today, these limitations do not apply.
  • Currently, Israel is under a state of emergency, and it is unknown how long this state of emergency will last (the maximum period mentioned above is not relevant in this state of emergency).
  • During military service, employees are entitled to receive their regular salary:
    • Israeli employers will receive a reimbursement from the National Insurance Institute (NII) up to a daily cap. Currently there is a daily cap of NIS 1,582.17 per day (NIS 47,465 per month). If the NII's payments are higher than the employee’s salary payments, the employer must forward any difference to the employee.
  • Generally, statutory and contractual benefits should also be continued with salary unless not applicable (e.g., travel expenses, on-site food perks).
  • Finally, note that employees are protected against termination of employment (unless a permit is obtained) during the reserve service and for a period of 30 days thereafter (assuming that the reserve service will continue for a period of more than two consecutive days).

For All Global Employers:

Military Leave:

  • For employees who are on military reserve service, employers should respect their service time and follow the parameters of the company’s military leave policy, consistent with the above obligations.
  • If an employer does not have a military leave policy, we recommend adopting high-level guiding principles, which may address: (a) reserving the employees’ roles upon their return; (b) providing salary for those on active duty; and (c) continuing benefits (including equity vesting) during military leave.

Employees who lose family members or want or need to travel to support family during this time:

  • Make sure you are aware of and follow in-country guidelines for any statutory paid or unpaid leaves. U.S. employers (with 50+ employees) may, depending on the circumstances, offer their employees FMLA leave to take care of an impacted family member. U.S. states (New York, for example) have other similar leave laws that may be available.
  • Follow your company’s discretionary and/or statutory bereavement leave policies. If your company does not yet have one in place, consider establishing one that sets out the basic parameters of when and how long a leave can be used and for what purpose. Specific countries may also have statutory leaves that can be used for this purpose.
  • It may be necessary to provide flexible working schedules – such as reduced hours or remote work. Consider documenting such requests in writing (especially for employees outside the U.S.) and building in discretion to review these requests, as needed.
  • Of course, consider reminding your employees of the mental health benefits the company offers – and other support that may be available.

Orrick’s Global Employment Team can help support your company to meet their obligations and/or provide resources for your employees. Please reach out with any questions to [email protected].