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Deterioration of working conditions

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Employers often try to get employees to resign by worsening their working conditions in order to save on severance payouts. To prevent this phenomenon, the Severance Pay Law addresses the issue of worsening working conditions.

What is worsening conditions at work?

Deterioration of working conditions is defined by the Severance Pay Law as a case in which working conditions have been tangibly worsened.

That is, the law emphasizes that worsening working conditions must be tangible and significant, to the point that it is not worth continuing to work in the same place. In addition, the employee must prove in court that his resignation was due to the detriment of the conditions and not for any other reason.

The tangible deterioration may be in the thick conditions themselves, in the conditions of wages, in human relations in the workplace, etc. The clause dealing with the issueis 11(a) of the Severance Pay Law, and the legislature’s intention is to discourage employers from exploiting deterioration of conditions in order to cause the employee to resign. This is done by determining that resignation on the grounds of worsening conditions entitles employee to full dismissal compensation due to the employee.

הרעת תנאי עבודה

What counts as deterioration of conditions?

Deterioration of conditions may be recognized by a labor court in many cases, when in fact it is an open list of cases, and each case will be examined according to its circumstances.

Here are some notable examples recognized in the ruling:

  • Wage withholding that’s not a one-time event.
  • Avoiding additional rights such as travel fees, convalescence pay, salary 13, holiday gifts or holiday pay.
  • Reduce working hours.
  • Change the employee’s shifts.
  • Moving the worker to a small space without window openings, which makes him uncomfortable.
  • Change to a remote workplace for an extended period of time, without prior notice.
  • Significant changes in working days and hours without notice.
  • Harming the employee’s position and status in an extreme way.
  • A change in the human relationship between an employee and an employer that may manifest itself in a humiliating, offensive, disparaging, and demeaning labor relationship on the part of the employer over time. Since every employee deserves to be treated with respect, reverse treatment is consider a detract from working conditions.

Deterioration of conditions after maternity leave

An employee who returned to her previous job after maternity leave is considered eligible to return to her position under the same conditions as she was previously employed, unless there are unique circumstances that do not allow it. An employer who does not allow this may be considered an employer who has fired her in the period in which she is protected from dismissal by law. From the day she returns to work and for 60 days, except with the permission of the Ministry of Economy, the worker is protected from harm to her income or the scope of her position.

Worsening conditions in shift work

Any change in the scope or conditions of the position (whether increasing the number of shifts or lowering the number of shifts and therefore harming the employee’s income) that is not done with the employee’s consent, may be considered a deterioration of conditions and entitly the employee to resign lawly due to the deterioration of the conditions of his employment.

Change working hours – Worsen conditions

Similar to the detriment of conditions when working shifts, changing working hours and attempting to dictate to the worker work hours that differ from those agreed upon in the work contract is considered to be detrimental to his conditions.

Deterioration of conditions – wage reduction

There are quite a few rulings that indicate that a reduction in wages that is done unilaterally by the employer is considered a violation of the labor agreement between the employee and the employer, and therefore, this is a deterioration of such conditions that may be considered grounds for prosecution in the Labor Court.

Deterioration of conditions – distance / deterioration of conditions – change of workplace

Changing the workplace to another location, or, alternatively, moving an employee’s workplace to a branch located elsewhere (even if it is a location that is in the distance in a relatively short distance) may be considered, in some cases, a tangible deterioration in the employee’s working conditions. In such a case, the employee is obligated to let his employer know about it, while allowing him to correct the situation.

What’s the compensation for worsening conditions?

As you have noticed, we have used the term “tangible deterioration in working conditions”, and now, we are going to expand a little bit. Even though the law is quite general and does not specify its intent, The rulings of the labor courts indicate several types of injuries that are considered “tangible deterioration” Such as cutting the employee’s salary, cutting the scope of the job, transferring to a position that includes fewer powers than the previous position, etc. An employee who is claiming his employer regarding the demand for severance pay lawly resigns due to the tangible deterioration will have to prove three things – the occurrence of a tangible deterioration in the conditions of his employment relative to his previous working conditions, the employee alerted the employee to the deterioration and gave the employer an opportunity to correct this, the employer did not correct and the employee submitted a letter of resignation due to the deterioration of the conditions.

An employee who resigned for a tangible deterioration is not considered a “resigner”, but rather as a “fired” (resigns under a fired law), and therefore will be entitled to compensation for dismissal, if he has worked at least a year in his workplace.

Dealing with worsening working conditions

If you feel that the conditions of your employment have been detrimental, you must first contact the employer. If the conversations have not been helpful, two modes of conduct are open to you – you can remain in the workplace and file a claim against the employer in a labor court, or resign and claim severance pay from the employer. You will receive the compensation on condition that you prove that your conditions were detrimental in a tangible way and that the resignation was due to the deterioration of these conditions.

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