(May 4, 2021) On April 7, 2021, Israel’s Civil Service Commission issued rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace and reduce the health risks for civil servants and those with whom they come into contact. The rules were also designed to ensure the provision of essential services to the public in a reasonable and appropriate manner and in accordance with the requirements of law. (Civil Service Rules (Appointments) Providing Information and Medical Documents in Coronavirus State of Emergency (Apr. 7, 2021).)
The rules authorize director generals of government offices or hospitals and human capital management and administration senior officers to request that employees arriving at their places of work present a “green pass”—a document provided to recovered coronavirus patients and to vaccinated persons—or certification of a negative coronavirus test result. A request for such documents may be issued when a responsible official has concluded that this is needed for determining the proper “work procedures” for limiting infection and continue providing public services. “Work procedures” in this context may include the following:
- Limiting the amount of time unvaccinated employees have contact with or preventing them outright from having contact with people who may not be vaccinated or who are at an increased risk or whose work involves high risk factors;
- Reducing physical contact in the workplace between employees and those with whom they come in contact;
- Reducing or preventing prolonged stays of multiple people in the workplace;
- Determining the identity of persons authorized to stay in the workplace and the conditions that apply to their stay. (Rule 3.)
In accordance with a directive issued by the Civil Service Commissioner on April 13, 2021, to determine work procedures, a responsible official may use appropriate procedures to relocate an employee to a different workspace, change an employee’s position, and approve an employee’s telework. Implementation of such procedures must conform to relevant civil service guidelines and procedures and to rules for employing workers during the pandemic (purple pass). (Civil Service Rules (Appointments) Providing Information and Medical Documents in Coronavirus State of Emergency, Civil Service Commissioner Directive 3.2 § 9 (April 13, 2021).)
The rules authorize a responsible official to request that an employee show documentation if the employee engages in work that is characterized as having “increased risk” or “characteristics of increased risk.” (Rule 4.) The directive defines work involving “increased risk” as employment under conditions in which there is substantial interaction with populations susceptible to a high level of risk of infection or serious disease, with unvaccinated children, or in places that are open to the public subject to presentation of a green pass. “Work with characteristics of increased risk” includes close physical interaction with multiple people in a closed space, providing food and drinks to others, or exposure to bodily secretions of other people. When it is not possible to implement proper work procedures such as those detailed in the rules, the directive authorizes responsible officials to require that civil servants who have not presented a green pass provide a negative result of a coronavirus test taken within seven days of the request.
The directive requires responsible officials to identify work places with “increased risk” and “work with characteristics of increased risk.” It further recognizes the right of employees to appeal in writing any request for presentation of medical information or test results. The directive also requires that a decision on the appeal be made within a reasonable period of time after consultation with the director general of the ministry of health or the minister’s designee. The filing of an appeal does not detract or suspend implementation of the work procedures.