Adv. Nachum Feinberg says that thepermit issued by Naftali Bennett allowing people who attend morning prayers to be late for work exceeded his authority.
“The permit issued by Minister of the Economy Bennett two months ago allowing people who attend morning prayers to be late for work adversely affected Israeli industry as a whole and should be cancelled,” says Feinberg, one of Israel’s top labor lawyers, in a letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. Feinberg represents many employers and is also chairman of the Israel Bar Association’s labor law forum.
Feinberg claims that Bennett’s decision to amend regulations to allow people who attend morning prayers to be 30 minutes late for work is an unacceptable intervention in labor arrangements, which have been established in a series of agreements and laws. “This is nothing but a distortion of the work of many people, harms their employers, manufacturers, managers, etc.,” wrote Feinberg.
On September 10, Bennett issued a permit allowing employees to be 30 minutes late to work, in order to pray. He issued the order under his authority pursuant to the Hours of Work and Rest Law (5721-1951). “Under my authority, and after consulting with the National Workers Union and national organizations representing employers, a general permit is hereby issued that on days when the sun rises after 6:30 am, a worker who may not, out of religious conviction, begin work until after his morning prayers, and who is not able to pray at his workplace, has the right to be 30 minutes late, provided that he makes up for the lost time at the end of the workday,” states the directive.
“A review of the permit shows that the honorable minister has made a mistake, by permitting something that he is not authorized to allow,” says Feinberg. “The permit establishes labor relations with new instructions for the parties in labor conditions that are different from what the parties actually signed. It dictates to the parties the start and end of the workday, but there is no mention in the law of a provision authorizing the minister to do this… The minister is authorized to allow a deviation only on the basis of the provisions relating to breaks in the workday.”