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Israel: Protection of Female Soldiers from Pregnancy-Related Dismissal

(Nov. 24, 2010) On November 1, 2010, the Knesset (Parliament) passed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Regular Service (Female Soldiers in Regular Service) Law, 5771-2010. Labor laws currently require employers who wish to terminate the employment of women during pregnancy leave, parental leave, or within 60 days following the termination of either type of such leave to obtain authorization from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Employment. Soldiers, including those in regular service (after they have completed service under the general draft), do not qualify as employees.

The new Law establishes a similar authorization requirement as a precondition for terminating a female soldier's employment during pregnancy, parental, or unpaid leave, as well as within 60 days following the end of any of these periods. The authorization required, however, must be granted by the Minister of Defense or his designee after extending the soldier and the military each an opportunity for a hearing and after having concluded that the termination of employment is not related to the soldier's maternity status. (Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Regular Service (Female Soldiers in Regular Service) Law, 5771-2010 Bill, the Knesset website, http://www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/18/3/336_3_2.rtf & http://www.knesset.gov.il/Laws/Data/BillKnesset/336/336.pdf, respectively (both last visited Nov. 19, 2010).)