Bill seeks to let all employees refuse to work on Shabbat

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to discuss on Sunday a bill that would prohibit employers from compelling secular employees to work on Shabbat.

The bill was proposed by Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie in an effort to allow all employees, rather than only religiously observant ones, to refuse work on Shabbat, which is mandated by law as a weekly day of rest.

Under the bill, employees who do not observe Shabbat or dietary restriction laws in accordance with Jewish custom would not be treated differently than those who do observe. They will not risk losing their jobs or being rejected from a potential job on the basis of refusing to work on Shabbat.

The explanatory section of the bill, prepared in conjunction with the Reform Center for Religion and State, states that “the bill allows all employees to refuse to work on their day of rest — for Jewish people, to refuse to work on Shabbat, even if the employee is a traditional Jew, who does not observe Shabbat according to Jewish law but feels the value of not working on Shabbat is important.”