In Israel, Supreme Court rules in favor of social and insurance benefits for long-term migrant health care workers

Date Posted: August 11th, 2014 01:01 AM


In Israel, Supreme Court rules in favor of social and insurance benefits for long-term migrant health care workers Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court entitling all foreign workers engaged in health care for 10 years or more to the same social benefits and health insurance rights as those received by their Israeli counterparts. Citing a report of POLO Israel officer-in-charge Alice R. Lim, Baldoz said the decision, issued on 22 June 2014, was the result of a petition filed in 2006 by Kav LaOved, a non-profit, non-government organization committed to protect the rights of disadvantaged workers employed in Israel, against the National Labour Court regarding prevalent issues affecting migrant workers in Israel. "This is, indeed, a welcome development," said Baldoz, who noted that Israel Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel, in marking her retirement from the High Court, ordered the Israeli government to reduce the gap between the health insurance schemes availed by Israeli residents and those of migrant workers who have lived in Israel for 10 years or more. In its decision, the Israeli Supreme Court stressed that a migrant worker should not treated as "a robot or as an object that has no rights". It emphasized that the right to health is a human right recognized by international law and Israeli constitutional law. In her report to the DOLE Secretary, Welfare Officer Lim said migrant workers in Israel do not receive medical insurance under the National Medical Insurance provided to Israeli workers. They are covered by private medical insurance paid for by their employers as required by the Israeli Law of Foreign Workers. But this is far inferior to the National Medical Insurance, because it does not cover pre-existing conditions and expires completely if the migrant worker is unable to work for three months or more. In such cases, private insurance companies can send the migrant worker home, where adequate medical care may not be available due to the migrant worker's long absence. "Moreover, migrant workers employed in the care giving sector in Israel are exposed to extremely harsh conditions, resulting to health deterioration and sometimes, injuries. They are also made to work on a round-the-clock basis with mandatory live-in arrangements with their employer," said Lim. "They do not enjoy the de facto protection of Israeli Labor Law due to their disadvantaged position in the labor market. They are excluded from the Israeli Work and Rest Hours Law," she added. As to social benefits, Lim observed that migrant workers' rights to social security is very limited even if they have resided in Israel for many years. They are also not covered by fundamental entitlements, such as unemployment, non-work related accident compensation, old-age allowance, etc. "With this decesion, we are happy that Filipino health care workers in Israel will soon be given the health and social protection benefits that they deserve," Lim said. Baldoz, in lauding the Israeli Supreme Court decision, said that the DOLE since 2010 has been requiring agency-hired workers to be covered with compulsory insurance coverage as required under R.A. 10022. "This is one of the many requirements that must be presented by licensed recruitment agencies upon processing of OFW documents to ensure that all OFWs are given access to health care services," Baldoz said. END

Created Aug 26th 2014, 15:07


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