McDonald’s Israel says it will replace young employees barred from Sabbath work


(JTA) — McDonald’s Israel said it will find replacements for 800 workers in response to the Israeli government enforcing a law barring young Jews from working on the Sabbath.

Beginning Saturday, Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor will enforce the Youth Employment Law, which makes it illegal to have Jewish youth employees work during the Sabbath. The ministry also will fine companies more than $9,000 for employing Jewish teens on Saturdays.

Employees in Israel earn 150 percent of their hourly wages on Saturday, and McDonald’s in Israel says that many of their young Jewish employees want to work, despite the law.

According to data presented by the food chain, some 4 percent of Jewish teens in Israel are employed on Saturdays,  Ynet reported.

McDonald’s Israel told the Israeli business daily Globes that it has no intention of closing its fast-food outlets where youths are employed on Saturdays, but that it will employ non-Jews, who are allowed by law to work on Saturday. The chain added that it would use every means at its disposal to fight for the rights of youths who want to work on Saturday.

“The law, which will come into effect this Saturday, will come into effect even though we’ve been fighting it for 17 years,” McDonald’s Israel said in a statement sent to the Israeli media. “We intend to petition the High Court of Justice to change the law.”

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