Success Story: Former private school teacher obtains a court decision of 28,425 shekels as compensations for violation of labor rights, including payment of summer vacation wages, which many workers in private schools are deprived of
“I obtained this decision when I was most in need”. This is how A’.N., a 33 year old teacher, who used to work in a private school in Ramallah, expressed his joy after obtaining a court decision awarding him an amount of 28,425 shekels as compensations for labor rights violations, including end of service indemnities, and payment of summer vacation wages, which he had not obtained since he had started working at the school. A’.N. said that this amount will help him in completing his house, which has been under construction for more than two years.
A’.N. had a written work contract between 2013 and 2016, with a monthly wage of 3000 NIS. During the same period, his employer took advantage of his need to keep his job. He used to demand that he signs an annual clearance declaring that he had received all his rights at the end of each year, although he received nothing. When A’.N. obtained a work opportunity at a governmental institution, he resigned from his previous job, giving his employer a month’s notice as required by the law.
When he handed in his resignation, A’.N. requested his rights according to the Palestinian Labor Law, including end of service indemnities, payment for remaining annual leave days, certificate of service, and payment of summer vacation wages, which many workers in private schools are deprived of. As the employer kept refusing to pay any compensations, A’.N. asked the Ministry of Labor to intervene to help him secure his rights as guaranteed by the law, but the employer maintained his refusal. This led the teacher to file a complaint with the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center, trusting that the Center’s legal services may help him with his claim. DWRC has been providing legal aid to Palestinian workers in the Palestinian & Israeli Labor markets since its establishment in 1993. So far, DWRC was able to obtain more than 20 million dollars as compensations for workers’ rights violations through negotiation, litigation, and enforcement of law.
DWRC’s Legal Aid and Human Rights Unit first attempted to engage in negotiations with the employer, but the school refused to agree to a settlement. It also declined to sign or receive the letters of notification concerning the teacher’s claim sent by DWRC. The case was filed with a Palestinian court. The court issued its decision on 30/10/2018, awarding the teacher an amount of 28,425 NIS for end of service indemnities and summer vacation wages. This decision will benefit all school employees, who are deprived from their right to a paid summer vacation. Even after the court decision was issued, the employer refused to comply. The school emptied all its bank accounts in an attempt to prevent the implementation of the court decision. The lawyer entrusted with the case had no choice but to request the seizure of the school and its properties. This decision was implemented in 08/09/2020, and the school’s management had to approve the payment of the compensations due to its former employee, through a first payment and installments by check, with the approval of (A’.N.).
DWRC’s legal work in supporting workers’ claims in courts is contributing in building case law on private school employees’ right to obtain payment of wages during the three-month summer holiday school break. This is the second such decision won by DWRC, and there are now several court decisions setting precedents on the matter.