Pension plan contributions for salaried sales employees

If you are an employer of salaried employees who work on a base pay with sales commissions or if you are an employee who works in a sales commission job, this is for you:

Joe worked as a sales rep for a company for several years. He resigned his position and sued his employer for payments towards mandatory pension, that were done only from his base pay, without taking into account the sums he earned from sales commissions.

In a recent verdict in labor court (11.2013), the court recognized the fact that sales commissions are a major component of  salary, and as such, they are to be taken into account for pension purposes, as well as severance pay!
This despite the fact that sales commissions are not a set rate or fee, but rather they change monthly, based on the employee’s performance and actual sales. 

 

 

Everything you wanted to know about Garnished wages

What are garnished wages ?

Garnished wages are amounts that require  one party who owes another party money, to transfer all or part of the owed sum to a third party. The third party can be the Tax Authority, Bituach Leumi, or any entity to whom a court decision has rendered a decision to their credit. In most cases the collection and distribution of collected funds are via the Authority of Enforcement and collection’s execution chamber (Hotza’a lepoal).

How are employer’s notified of garnished wages orders?

Written notification is issued by the Autority of Enforcement and Collection and sent to the employer of the entity who owes money. This notification is binding and includes the creditor’s name and address, the total sum owed and what the reason for the debt is. It is common for such notifications to be sent to companies, garnishing sums owed to suppliers, or to employers, garnishing sums owed to salaried employees (payroll) – which is the focus of this post.

What do I need to do if I received a garnished wages order ?

The recipient of a garnished wages order  must send a written reply within 7 days of receipt, as to whether they can comply, or not (such as if the employee no longer works for them, is unknown, or no money is owed to them.
Employers who do not send a reply to notifications and/or do not comply with the instructions on the garnished wages order notification open themselves up to legal action by the creditor which can result in them absorbing the debt themselves!

Are all garnished wages orders the same ?

No! There are two basic types of garnished wages: 1) alimony and 2) everything else.

1)      Garnished wages for alimony payments.

2)      Everything else

In addition, there are garnished wages orders for set amounts per month, there are those that only state the total sum owed and there are those that specify a set % of the wages owed. It is extremely important to note the reason for debt, because if it is alimony, the table below does not apply and all the net pay needs to be garnished until the sum of debt is paid.

 

Am I required, as a recipient of a garnished wages order, to zero out all of the employee’s net wages?

The protection of salary law specifies amounts (see table below) that are exempt from garnished wages orders, based on marital status and the number of children up to age 19 in the debtor’s care. If the exempt amount is more than 80% of the monthly salary, the garnished pay will be reduced to 80% of the monthly salary.
If an employee is employed at a daily rate, the garnished wages shall not exceed 25% of the daily rate.

In general, the amounts relate to net pay after deduction of mandatory deductions (tax, social security, health tax). Any other deductions are considered wages for all purposes and intents.

This does not apply to alimony payments.

Table of amounts exempt from garnished wages orders (except alimony):

From

Single

Single + 1 child

Single + 2 children
or more

Female widow + 1 child

Female widow + 2 children or more

Couple

Couple + 1 child

Couple + 2 children or more

01.2013

2,122

3,008

3,517

3,432

4,281

3,183

3,692

4,201

01.2012

2,093

2,966

3,467

3,384

4,221

3,139

3,641

4,143

01.2011

2,040

2,892

3,381

3,298

4,114

3,059

3,549

4,038

01.2010

1,995

2,863

3,347

3,266

4,074

3,028

3,512

3,997

01.2009

1,921

2,723

3,183

3,106

3,875

2,881

3,342

3,803

01.2008

1,838

2,605

3,047

2,973

3,708

2,757

3,198

3,639

01.2007

1,788

2,534

2,963

2,892

3,607

2,682

3,111

3,540

The Authority of Enforcement and collection’s service and information hot line is: *35592  and operates:  Sun –Thurs  08:00 – 16:00

Are you a salaried employee or self-employed ?

Are you a salaried employee or self-employed ?

There is a huge difference ! Not only in the benefits you are entitled to, but in regard to your responsibilities. No, I am not talking about your social benefits or your salary. I am talking about Social Security (or Bituach Leumi as it is known in Israel). Before you say that of course you know what your status is, I suggest you read this post thru to the end. It may have some eye-opening surprises for you that can have serious impact on you, financially.

Many people own companies or are suppliers of services as self-employed. There are people who work legitimately as salaried employees, and some do a little of both.
Others have start-ups they run from home: anything from selling things, to doing work over the computer, whether it be building internet sites or translating work, or whatever.  It is this last group that this post is trageting.

First, it is important to understand that while both self-employed and salaried employees pay Social Security, the rates are different and so is the coverage for various stipends as well as the base amounts for the stipends.

If you are considered by Bituach Leumi to be self-employed, but you are reported on a company’s payroll (not a placement or manpower agency), that fact does not make you a salaried employee. What counts is your actual status. Bituach Leumi, by law, can change a person’s status one-sidedly and even retroactively ! As a result of such a change they can demand back payment at the rates that existed for self-employed persons ! If you received in the past, during the said chnaged period, a stipend from Bituach Leumi, your eligibility for that stipend may be re-evaluated and even disallowed.

Recently, a verdict was released by the labor court in a case of “stage and comunication ltd” and others vs. Bituach Leumi (case # 5062/06). Bituach Leumi one-sidedly changed the status of certain “employees” in the company. The company and the employees filed suit in labor court contesting the change.
The court, asked the simple basic question “did employee-employer relations exist between certain employees who were on the company’s payroll as salaried employees and reported as such ?”. The verdict explicitly stated that there were no such relations and these “employees” should have been reported as self-employed for all purposes.

The Judge stated in his verdict the following: “The model of employment, which all of the plaintiff companies involved in the suit, used was in actuality a front. These companies only designation was to relieve self-employed people from the burden of managing their affairs with the tax authorities and the defendant (Bituach Leumi). There is no relationship or connection between the plaintiff companies and the services the employees, who were reported as salaried workers, provided to the recipients of the services. The only reason the employees were on payroll as salaried employees was to avoid having to manage their affairs with the authorities.”

This is a precident setting, important verdict, the first of it’s kind, in a very lengthy case.

This is how you can check yourself to see if you qualify as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person

Answer the following questions truthfully. If your answer to any of these questions is negative, this very well could mean that you are self-employed:

1. Is there someone who arranges your schedule at work ?

2. Is there someone at work who assigns or re-assigns you to a project/position ?

3. Is there someone at work who has the power and authority to fire you and terminate your job ?

4, Is there someone at work that you need to request vacation leave from ? Or to notify regarding tardiness, sick days, reserve army duty, etc  ?

5. Is there anyone at work who supervises your work and you report to as a superior ?

6. Is there any type of time-sheet reporting and follow-up for your work hours and days ?

and if your answer to any of these questions is positive this very well could mean that you are self-employed:

7. Do you decide which clients/ jobs to accept and which to deny ?

8. Do you negotiate with clients the price they will pay or determine the cost for jobs ?

9. Are your wages implemented by sharp up and down changes due to the cash inflow that you recieve from third parties ? And as a result is it difficult to point out your monthly base pay ?

10. Is payment of your wages delayed until the amount is received in full from a third party ? (not paid on a set date)

 

If the answer to these questions is negative, chances are you are not eligible to be a salaried employee. You need to register as a self-employed individual at your local Bituach Leumi office in order to ensure your rights. Don’t wait for them to rescind your salaried employee’s rights retroactively. More information can be found on Bituach Leumi’s website:  www.btl.gov.il

This is not something to be taken lightly !

 

Employer who single-sidedly reduced employee’s salary was forced to pay severance pay

The employee worked for a gardening company. Upon recieving his last payslip, he discovered that his daily rate had been reduced substantially !

He contacted the employer, demanding that his daily rate be restored to what it was previously, as no-one notified him of any change and he also did not agree to any such change.

The employer refused on several request attempts by the employee, stating that it was a simple “computer mistake” but the bottom line is the same. As a result the employee resigned his position and sued the employer in labor court, demanding his daily rate be restored, as well as severance pay and social benefits from the full rate and not partial from the new, reduced rate, as the employer calculated.

The employer countered, in his response to the court, that the employee resigned his position and as such is not entitled to severance pay. In addition, the employer requested that the employee pay him for failure to give 30 days advance notice.

The court ruled that relevance of section 11a of the severance pay law, which enables an employee to resign his position and still be eligible for severance pay, is upon the employee.

Basically, the employee was able to prove that the employer single-sidedly reduced his wages, by submitting photocopies of his payslips to the court as evidence.

Reducing salary is considered a “worsening of work conditions” that an employee is not expected to continue working under.

The employer stated to the court that after amendment 24 to the “protection of salary” law in 2008, the employer was instructed by his bookkeepers and legal advisors to itemize all payments on the payslips, instead of the one line – “salary” which was used up until then. The employer “fixed” this by lowering the salary rate and adding other mandatory items seperately, such as travel expense and Havra’a. The court ruled that these other items should have been added in addition to the existing pay and not all inclusive, since the item listed was only salary.

The court awarded the employee full severance pay and the employer was instructed to pay the employee the remainder of his salary (restore the original rate) and the social benefits from the full amount, as well as back pay (from his start of employment) for travel and Havra’a.

It pays for employers to configure payslips properly, according to the law, and avoid such scenarios.

Working hours on Israel’s Memorial Day & Independence Day

Memorial Day of Israel’s Fallen soldiers is Monday April 15th, 2013

According to the fallen soldiers law (1963), any employee who is one of the following:
*  parent
*  grandparent
*  spouse
* child
* sibling

of a fallen soldier, is eligible to be absent from work on this day without liability of deduction from pay.

 

Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut)

Israel’s 65 birthday is Tuesday April 16th, 2013

According to the Independence Day law (1959), This is a paid national holiday. This applies to all employers in Israel.

The day prior to Independence Day (Memorial Day or Erev Yom Ha’atzmaut) is a shortened work day, by law.
Employees who work an 8 hour workday, need work only 7 hours.
Employees who work a 9 hour workday, need work only 8 hours.
Places of employment that have a collective or personal agreement, or custom which is more favorable to the employee than the law, these would take precedence.
There is no deduction for missing hours for this day.

To be paid for Independence Day, you need to have at least 3 month’s tenure with your employer and you need to work the day before and the day after Independence day.

Employers that are not included in the list of places that need to operate on a holiday which is published by the Prime Minister’s Office are not allowed to force their employees to work on Independence Day as publicized by the Israeli Labor Court.

Employees who work for an employer who is included in the list, are entitled to 200% for all hours worked from 24:00 (midnight) on Memorial Day until 24:00 on Independence Day.
Payment for Independence Day needs to be itemized separately on the payslip.

 

 

Employee sexually discriminated against

The municipality of Petah Tikva started a project for police patrol service via a security company. The service was to operate 24/7 via foot-patrol and motorized patrol.

Noa was invited to an interview and accepted to this position along with 16 others. She was the only female in the group. Noa was slotted in to do only the foot patrol on all her watches. She asked the person in charge of scheduling the shifts to put her on some motor-patrols as well, but was turned down, according to Noa “because people don’t want to see a woman driving a jeep…”

She was requested to pass an internal driving test to show she is capable of “navigating in the area” before she would even be considered for a motorized patrol, even though none of the other employees were required to do so.

Noa submitted a formal complaint to the labor court against her employer demanding 100,000 sh in damages pertaining to non-compliance with the equal opportunity in employment law, loss of income and tarnishing her good name and aggravation.

The labor court issued the following verdict:

The equal opportunity in employment law clearly states in section 2a that it is forbidden to discriminate due to sex, among other things, in accepting a candidate for employment, in training a candidate, in firing an employee, etc.
The law passes over the responsibility to the employer to prove their was no foul play and discrimination in his decision.

The court found that Noa wasn’t scheduled for motorized patrols simply because she is a woman. Also the fact that she was required to take extra tests as opposed to the men. Noa also submitted  taped conversations between herself and her employer to back her claims. The court ruled that this is indeed invalid discrimination and although no monetary damage was proved, the court still believed that this type of behavior needs to be curbed harshly and therefore fined the employer 55,000 shekels.