Soon: 26-Week Maternity Leave

Women in Israel will soon have the right to take 26 weeks of maternity leave without losing their jobs. Only first 14 weeks will be paid.

Maayana Miskin, | updated: 22:19

Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli women will soon have the right to take 26 weeks off from work following the birth of a child. The first 14 weeks will be paid for by the National Insurance Institute, while a law will be passed explicitly stating that the NII is not responsible to pay for the final 12 weeks.

The law allowing women to take six months of leave won government support Sunday. The bill was backed by MK Dalia Itzik of Kadima and MK Tzipi Hotovely of Likud.

Itzik said Sunday that winning support for the bill was “the beginning of a revolution in which we will bring Israel closer to the enlightened Western world.” Many European countries give several months or more of maternity leave following the birth of each child.

The 26-week leave is “a first, important, step,” Itzik said, but added that other proposals were already in the works. Activists are planning “a variety of activities, including legislative, to promote women's status and encourage them to work while feeling secure as mothers.”

Hotovely said the new legislation would allow women to “realize their motherhood without being rushed back to work.” Lengthening the legal maternity leave is a crucial step in diminishing tension between career and family, she added.

Currently, women in Israel are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave, during which they are paid by the NII in accordance with their average monthly salary.

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