“This report seeks to describe the working conditions of about 10,000 female migrant workers from eastern Europe who are employed in the caregiving sector in Israel. These migrant workers enjoy much less communal support compared to migrant workers from east Asia. The women from eastern Europe are more isolated and hence increasingly vulnerable. The report is based on interviews, conducted in November and December 2016, of 36 female migrant workers, most of them from Moldova, but also the Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Romania, and on interviewes conducted with Idit Leibowitz, the Caregiving Sector Coordinator at the NGO Kav LaOved over the past seven years, and on reports, regulations and
other publications.”


To read the full report: Caregivers from Eastern Europe


The central findings in this report:

Collection of Illegal Exorbitant Recruitment Fees: Recruitment companies continue to charge between $4,500 from workers who entered Israel until a few years ago to $9,000 from workers who’ve entered Israel over the past few years.

Exclusion from the Application of the Law of Work and Rest Hours and Denial of Overtime Pay: The workers are employed 24 hours per day, six days per week. They live in the homes of their employers and on average have to work for 12 hours per day. During the other 12 hours, they are on stand by and must present themselves if the patient requires their services. One of the workers reported an extreme case when she had to work for 22 hours straight. Despite this, the monthly wages of the
workers who were interviewed ranged from 2,700- 4,870 NIS.

Denial of the Weekly Day of Rest: A third of the workers were employed seven days per week.

Illegal Employment Doing Work other than Caregiving: The workers were compelled to cook and clean for the entire family, take care of animals and large gardens. Some were forced to clean and take care of gardens for relatives of the patient who don’t live in the same household with the patient.

Difficult Living Conditions: Workers reported not having enough food, being unable to choose what to eat, prevented from turning on the AC or water heater before a shower and banned from using the washing machine.

Inappropriate Behavior of the Patient or Their Relatives: Workers reported verbal, physical and at times even sexual abuse.

Difficulties in Exiting Israel for a Home Visit: Workers reported being denied a return-entry permit to Israel when they wanted to visit their home country unless they obtained a written permission from the employer and recruitment agency.

Difficulties in Finding an Alternative Employer Due to Geographic Restrictions: Workers reported having difficulties finding alternative employers due to the restrictions on the geographic region where their employment is permissible. This difficulty leads the women to accept abusive working conditions, out of fear that they will be unable to locate an alternative employer and lose their legal status in Israel.

Denial of Severance Pay: Since 2008, Israeli law obligates employers of migrant workers to deposit a share of the workers’ salary and their contributions in a pension fund, many patients are unaware of this.

Lack of Information about Labor Rights and Inadequate Supervision to Ensure Rights are Upheld: Many workers are unaware of their rights, although a law requires a social worker to visit the home of the patient to inform the employee about her rights and provide guidance to the employer.

The persistent violation of the rights of migrant caregivers, as reflected in this report, increases the likelihood that migrant caregivers will fall victim to the crimes of human trafficking and employment in  slavery-like conditions.


To read the full report: Caregivers from Eastern Europe