One of the perks of being an employee in Israel is that, as a rule, you don’t have to worry about paying taxes; your employer takes care of it along with other related social benefits. But how many of you realize that whether you are an employee, self-employed or even retired, if you have a cleaner that comes to clean your home on a regular basis, then in this case you are generally considered an employer, with all the relevant responsibilities?

An employer?! Yes, unless your cleaner works through a cleaning company that gives you an invoice (and can demonstrate providing for your cleaner’s social benefits), you are most likely considered the cleaner’s direct employer, with that cleaner being your employee – and with this come some important ramifications.

For those of us born in other countries, and probably for many native Israelis as well, this is a somewhat confusing situation. We often aren’t even aware that we need to check, and the cleaners may be afraid to demand their rights out of fear of being dismissed or being considered to be more expensive than their competition. The first step, therefore, is becoming aware of your responsibilities.

In Israel, governmental legislation and guidelines define the relationship between a householder and his/her cleaner as an employer-employee relationship.  That means that when you pay your cleaner, you are not only responsible for paying their hourly wage, but also for paying the legal benefits that s/he is owed.  These include non-monetary benefits such as vacation days, convalescence benefits and sick benefits, as well as withholding income tax (if relevant) and, most crucial, National Insurance (Bituach Leumi), pension payments and severance payment upon their dismissal.

Aside from fulfilling your requirements towards your employee, there is strong legal and risk-management incentive.  For example, if your employee (the cleaner) is injured in your home and you haven’t paid National Insurance, then you could be exposed to legal action by the cleaner and/or the government.  There may also be legal ramifications if the cleaner is no longer able to work or passes away.

So, what’s the good news?

There is up-to-date information on what your legal obligations are on the National Insurance website or on a site such as workrights.co.il.  And in case all this information is intimidating you, just note that it’s relatively quick and painless to take care of everything, you can do it all online and it only takes a couple of minutes each month to make the payments.

In summary, if you haven’t done any of this until now, don’t fret; you are in the majority.  Many people aren’t aware of what they have to do and if they are aware they don’t know how to do it.  Don’t delay – by fulfilling your financial and legal obligations to your cleaner you now have the opportunity to promote social justice and provide your employees with their rights and ensuring insurance coverage in case, heaven forbid, something does happen to them while on the job.

 This information has not been provided to you as legal advice and does not replace any legislative requirements or guidelines.