Minimum wage rising to NIS 5,300 on December 1

With lowest hourly rate going up to NIS 28.50 and daily minimum to NIS 245, Israel enters final stage of increases that began in 2015

Close-up of Israeli currency, Jerusalem. (Orel Cohen/Flash90)
Close-up of Israeli currency, Jerusalem. (Orel Cohen/Flash90)

Israel’s monthly minimum wage will rise to NIS 5,300 ($1,500) on December 1, the government announced Monday.

The hourly minimum wage will rise from NIS 26.90 ($7.60) to NIS 28.50 ($8.10), and the daily minimum wage will rise from NIS 231 ($65.50) to NIS 245 ($69.50).

The Finance Ministry estimates the increase will cost employers some NIS 400-500 million ($110-150 million) each year.

The decision was approved unanimously by the Knesset.

Elie Elalouf (Kulanu), head of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, welcomed the move.

“Along with an increase in disability pensions and supplementary income for the elderly, I expect that we will see a very positive effect on the amount of (people in) poverty in the coming years,” he said.

Opposition lawmakers also welcomed the move. They praised chairman of the Histadrut workers’ union Avi Nissenkorn and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for turning the bill into law.

MK Dov Khenin of the Joint List said during the Knesset debate, “Most of the poor in Israel are working people who get up early in the morning to support their families, return late at night after a hard day’s work, and remain living in poverty.”

Khenin also reminded the plenum that when he initially proposed raising the minimum wage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that it would be dangerous, leading to the collapse of the economy and mass unemployment. “But none of these prophecies of doom has materialized,” he said.

The move is the final stage in a Knesset decision from March 2015 to raise the minimum wage from what was then NIS 4,200 (about $1,200) to NIS 5,000 (about $1,400) by January 1, 2017, in installments. A later decision added the current hike step.

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