95,000 Israelis added to unemployment rolls since Wednesday

Another 95,000 Israelis went on unemployment as of Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel 13 reports.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The National Insurance Institute (NII) estimates that half a million people will be collecting unemployment benefits by the end of April, due mostly to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Another 95,000 Israelis went on unemployment as of Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel 13 reports.

According to the Israeli Employment Service, 86 percent of them were those being forced by their employers to take vacation without pay.

Israel’s Employment Service estimates that the monthly unemployment benefit budget will expand seven times in April to NIS 2 billion. This compares to 800 to 900 million this month, Channel 13 reports.

According to Social Security data, in January and February, an average of NIS 340 million was paid a month.

In a typical month, the number of employed is 80,000 with 17,000 newly unemployed added to the rolls.

The expected payment for March will be NIS 1 billion.

In April, there are expected to be 500,000 unemployed and the payment will amount to NIS 2.5 billion.

It’s unknown how long the crisis will last. Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said it could last into 2021.

On a hopeful note, possible vaccines are starting to be tested with two labs working on them in Israel.

Employees who have been terminated or who have been sent on unpaid leave for 30 days or more can get full unemployment benefits from the date their companies gave them notice. In recognition of the crisis, the Employment Service said that all those who register by March 26 will receive benefits as if they registered by the 15th of the month.

National Insurance payments are generally deposited into peoples’ accounts on or by the 12th of the next month. The amount will depend on their age and level of income earned before termination.

The self-employed are generally not covered for unemployment benefits. However, the NII has declared that in this particular case, tour guides, mentors, lecturers, teachers and artists who were left without work due to the coronavirus outbreak will be compensated.