Good things are going to happen in 2017
1. Israel’s minimum wage will be raised to NIS 5,000 per month starting from the 1st of January. This is the third out of four increases of the Minimum Wage Agreement signed in December 2014. The final raise will come into effect at the end of 2017, when the minimum wage will be increased to NIS 5,300 per month.
2. The plastic bags act — from the 1st of January a 10 agurot fee will be charged on nylon bags. Today, supermarkets distribute these bags for free. This levy is intended to reduce the use of plastic bags and the proceeds from their sale will be transferred to a special fund in the Ministry of the Environment. Local grocery stores and markets will be exempt.
3. A Savings Plan for each child. Bituach Leumi (Social Security) will implement from the 1st of January the program of “savings for each child,” Each month, Bituach Leumi will put aside NIS 50 for each child under the age of 18. This NIS 50 is in addition to the child allowance that the parents receive on a monthly basis. Parents can choose whether the NIS 50 will be paid into a Kupat Gemel (Provident Fund) or invested in a saving scheme at the bank. The child will have access to this money at the age of 18. To read more about the saving scheme, here is my blog that was published in the Times of Israel.There is more good news: there will be a one-time payment of NIS 1,000 which is back-payment from May 2015 through December 2016. Even more good news: parents are encouraged to participate in the saving scheme for their children and they are able to add NIS 50 per month.
4. Extra vacation days for salaried employees. Each employee will be entitled to two extra days off per year. The first vacation day was previously added in July 2016, and on the 1st of January an extra vacation day will be added. This law applies to workers with seniority of up to four years in the workplace who work five days a week, so they will be entitled to 12 vacation days a year, instead of 10 days. Employees who work six days a week will receive 14 days of vacation, instead of 12 today.
5. The tax rate levels — from the 1st of January the changes in income tax rates are as follows: people earning up to NIS 20,000 gross will pay less in taxes. People who earn NIS 60,000 per month and more will pay more taxes. The monthly tax savings for low and medium wage will vary from NIS 30 to NIS 150. Salaries above NIS 60,000 per month will pay an extra NIS 200 per month in income tax.
6. Self-employed people will be required by law to have a pension scheme. A survey that was conducted indicated that 40% of self-employed people have no pension savings. So starting from the 1st of January all self-employed workers also will be required by law, to have a pension scheme.
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