Monday, January 25, 2010

Waiting for the Saftey Net to Deploy

I am entitled to less benefits than most of my laid off coworkers because I worked for less than a year. The minimum financial cushion will hopefully be enough to find a job. The challenge is trying to figure out when I will receive the benefits in order to budget accordingly.

One benefit is called Pitzuim. It is kind of like an RRSP except that it is paid out every 6 years or with an option to cash out when your employment ends. In my case it works out to be worth approximatly one months salary. I had been left with the impression that it would be paid out with my final paycheck. I found out from the insurance agent just over a week ago that this would not be the case. Payout would be 40 business days from my last paycheck which occurs at the end of the month. That would put the payout after Pesach. I spoke to the insurance agent on Thursday. She thinks they can pay it out in 30 business days. To make things easier my last paycheck was supposed to place on Thursday. That did not happen. I am hoping that it is taken care of tomorrow as there is someone who volunteers to help Anglos at the Betuach Leumi office on Tuesdays.

The other part of the safety net is unemployment insurance. I did not meet the cutoff to qualify for full benefits. Instead I get half benefits which seems to be entitlement to the same amount for half the period of time. You can only claim unemployment twice in a four year period. It does nto matter how many days of benefits you collected. It means I need to be careful that my next employment opportunity is likely to be long term.

There are two steps to obtaining unemployment insurance. One is a trip to the unemployment office. They have been on strike for three weeks with no end in sight. The possibility of not receiving benefits was starting to make me seriously considering taking a shlep job to support my family. An e-mail went out late Friday that they would take a one day break on Sunday to service process new cases. This morning there was a carpool going down to the unemployment office.

We arrived 15 minutes before opening and there were about 50 people gathered outside the gate. It was funny watching the cars slow down as they drove by trying to figure out if they need to report or not. There was a sign off in the corner plus a number of warnings that it was only for new cases. Plus on the way in the security guard warned every fourth person. That didn't stop people from trying to report.

As usual it was typical Israeli bureaucracy. You had to know that you needed to show someone your Teudat Zehut to determine which line to wait in. There was also a form to fill out that you were unable to come earlier because the office was on strike. People were ordered to sit down, so you had to know where your place in line was. I recieved a card that is just slightly too big to fit inside my Teudat Zehut. I need to go back every Sunday morning to confirm I am unemployed. I was really nervous but the system was rather painless. I was out of the office in an hour and that is mostly because I didn't grab my spot in line fast enough amongst all of the confusion.

The other trip I need to make for unemployment benefits is a trip to Betuach Leumi (National Insurance). They determine how much your benefits are. They require your last 12 tlushim (pay stubs) to process your benefits. As I have not recieved my last paycheck I still can't go to get it taken care of. I am hoping that it will be done tomorrow, so I can get the ball rolling on Tuesday.

Check out my guest blog post on Unemployed Israeli.

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