March, 2020 – Israel – Granot-Speiser
Due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus and its arrival to Israel, the Israeli government, especially the ministry of health have issued new guidelines and mandatory instructions which has major legal and business effects, some can be seen below, all as a result of the different authorities trying to meet the limitations imposed on the one hand but looking to ease on the individuals and business on the other.
Employment matters. Employers are forced to minimize expenses in ways such as: reducing the scope of employment, lowering salaries, utilizing any available leave days, imposing unpaid leave on employees, reducing manpower, and conducting dismissals. The social security institution in Israel and other state employment service issued an official guideline, whereby employees on unpaid leave due to the coronavirus will be entitled to unemployment benefits subject to several conditions which have been relieved. Also, as of March 9, 2020, absence from work due to the home quarantine of a child shall entitle an employee to paid sick leave. As of March 16, 2020, any employer that employs more than 10 employees can employ at his workplace only 30% of its employees (all other employees should work from home) and at workplace the employees must keep a distance of at least two meters.
Israel Innovation Authority (IIA). The IIA have issued requests for proposals offering grants to address the Coronavirus, the offered financial grants ranging between 20% and 70% of approved R&D expenses for these projects. Due to the time constraints, the IIA providing an easy and expedited procedure for the applications and their approval. The projects can be of R&D programs for early-stage ideas or applications, as well as technological solutions in the test-run and demonstration stages, and applications by manufacturers of medical equipment, therapeutic equipment, contamination prevention equipment, remote medicine, measuring and control devices, textiles, chemicals, polymers and plastics, etc.
Israel Securities Authority (ISA). The ISA eases obligations for corporations which reports to the ISA and to the TASE. Reporting corporations may submit their 2019 periodic reports until April 30, 2020 and not until March 31, 2020, as usually required. Adoption of this extension, requires the corporation to publish an immediate report on the date of such decision or by March 31 (whichever is earlier). Any corporation whose business activity is materially impacted or may be materially impacted by the virus must ensure this is properly disclosed to investors in its reports. Other than the aforesaid, reporting corporations must ensure they are able to continue to publish the required reports in a timely manner, as required by law. This eases are consistent to the new eases on reporting obligations provided by the SEC in USA allowing relief on reporting dates to US publicly traded companies impacted by the novel coronavirus.
Israeli Courts. The Israeli courts are currently in general suspension, except for urgent hearings only in the following cases: (1) arrest and release on bail; (2) detention under the Emergency Powers (Detention) Law, 5739-1979; (3) urgent petitions to the Supreme Court (in its duty as High Court of Justice); (4) criminal offenses under legislation relating to the special emergency situation; (5) urgent temporary relief in civil matters. Hearing that were set on other issues are canceled, and will be set to another date (currently unknown). The Labor Courts hearings are conducted as usual, but if requests for postponement are submitted, they will be considered in a ‘liberal’ way. All mediation proceedings are cancelled. Regarding affidavits – they cannot be remotely executed, but there are some mitigations. The Israeli government is currently discussing the legislation of emergency regulations, including in connection with detention hearings by visual conferences.
For more information on the above or in other matters, please contact Oren Speiser (firstname.lastname@example.org).