HR Policy Global facilitated a discussion for members on employee safety and business continuity in Israel, and how to create a safe and inclusive work environment for diverse workforces around the world in a time of conflict. Orly Gerbi, Partner, Herzog Fox & Neeman, an Israeli law firm, provided key information on how to prepare for and respond to volatile situations like the one in Israel.
Employee safety is a top concern: Ensuring employee safety and business continuity is crucial for organizations during times of conflict. Employers can support employees in several ways, including:
- Participating in employee relocation, based on the government’s recommendations. Some companies support the relocation of their employees to safer regions in Israel by offering emergency allowances, temporary housing, or other forms of assistance.
- Transferring expat employees back to their home countries or elsewhere. However, employers should approach this with sensitivity if they want to relocate Israeli employees to another country.
- Staying connected with employees in Israel to understand their personal needs. Even if employees are not directly involved in military service, their families and friends may be, and extra support is needed through unified leadership.
- Offering options for remote work if commuting is a concern, as maintaining a work routine can contribute positively to employee mental health. Ms. Gerbi recommends that employers utilize their HRIS to monitor payments and absences and communicate work expectations clearly during this period.
Increasing company focus on labor and employment issues:
- Employers are advised against terminating employees while emergency measures are in place or when childcare is required.
- Employers should support employees who are summoned for military service under Israeli law. These employees have the right to retain their jobs and receive their salaries during their service and for the 30 days following.
- Given the unprecedented trauma experienced by employees in Israel, it's crucial for employers to express care, extend insurance coverage to include mental health, and provide a space for mourning and sharing.
- For Israeli employees abroad who wish to return to Israel for military service, it is at the employer’s discretion whether they continue to pay that employee, according to Ms. Gerbi.
On the topic of crisis management and business continuity, some companies are proactively relocating key personnel to neighboring countries to prepare for potential attacks. Members discussed strategies such as mapping project progress and employee capacity in Israel, identifying critical projects, and leveraging teams outside of the country.
Employers must decide how to address diverse opinions and communicate effectively. Companies should uphold their core values and codes of conduct, ensure equal treatment of all employees, utilize internal and external resources, and foster safe and inclusive environments. HR Policy’s CEO Tim Bartl shared an HR Policy Board discussion on this topic.