Firing a pregnant employee (including someone who has worked less than 6 months) because of her pregnancy is considered to be a form of prohibited discrimination according to the Equal Employment Rights Law and it is therefore prohibited to fire an employee because of her pregnancy effective from the first day of her employment.
- If the women has worked for the same employer or in the same workplace for at least 6 months, she cannot be fired for any reason without without a permit from the Employment of Women Law Ombudsman in the Ministry of Social Affairs, Social Service and Labor (the permit will never be given if the reason for the dismissal us because of her pregnancy).
- In the even that an employer wants to fire an employee while she is pregnant the employer must submit a permit request to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Social Service and Labor's Regulation Division.
- The Employment of Women Law Ombudsman will only give the special permit if the ombudsman has been convinced that the employee's firing is not related to her being pregnant. It is up to the ombudsman's discretion not to give the permit even if the firing was not not related to the employee being pregnant after considering all of the circumstances of the case related to labor relations.
- The employer is required in every case, to request this permit when firing someone who is pregnant and has worked in the same place of employment for more than 6 months, (even if it seems clear that the firing of an employee had nothing to do with her being pregnant).
- The dismissal of a pregnant employee without a permit as described above is intrinsically void and the employee will be entitled to all of her rights as if she had never been fired.
- In the event that an employee was unlawfully fired during her pregnancy, she is entitled to sue the employer and demand monetary compensation.
Who is Eligible?
- Any pregnant employee (at all stages of pregnancy).
How to Claim It?
- If a woman is unlawfully fired while pregnant, the firing is considered to have never occurred, and the employee is entitled to take any of the following actions:
- File a complaint against the employer with the labor law enforcement division.
- Sue the employer in the labor courts for monetary compensation equivalent to the salary and benefits to which she would have been entitled had employee-employer relations continued as they were before the dismissal.
- A pregnant woman who worked for less than 6 months for the same employer or in the same place of work, and was fired because of her pregnancy, is entitled to sue for compensation based on the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Law. The employee has the burden of proof to show that there was no reason for her dismissal and the employer has the burden of proof to show that he/she did not fire the employee because of her pregnancy.
- A pregnant woman who has worked for 6 months or more for the same employer or in the same place of work, and was unlawfully fired is entitled to to sue for compensation based on the Women's Employment Law. If she was fired because of her pregnancy she is also entitled to sue for compensation based on the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace law.
- Dismissal of a pregnant employee without a permit constitutes a criminal offense. See the "Court Rulings" section below.
- When an employee reaches the fifth month of her pregnancy she is obligated to inform her employer of the pregnancy
- The employer is also prohibited from firing an employee during her Maternity Leave, her Unpaid Leave Following Maternity Leave if she took it and for 60 days after she returns to work. For more information on the restrictions to fire or change the work terms of a woman during or after her maternity leave see:
- Prohibition of Firing an Employee Following Maternity Leave
- Prohibition of Firing an Employee on Maternity Leave
- Prohibition of Changing the Position or Salary of an Employee During and After Maternity Leave
- A Woman Returning to Work after Maternity Leave is Entitled to Return to the Same Job and Same Conditions
- An employer that fires a pregnant woman without a permit is obligated to pay a fine and compensation
- Dismissal of a pregnant employee shortly before she would have completed six months working for the same employer (Applebaum v. Holtzman)
- Dismissal of a pregnant employee who worked part-time for six months (Prof. Ariel Ben Amar v. Ada Feldman)
- Obligation to allow a woman returning from maternity leave to actually return to work as opposed to providing monetary compensation instead
- Click here for a comprehensive listing of organizations that provide assistance for issues in general related to employment and workers' rights, as well as specifically to working women.
- For a list of government agencies responsible for issue of employment and specifically for the employment of women
Laws and Regulations
- Original information provided by Yedid - The Association for Community Empowerment.
- English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.