According to the announcement of Attorney Inbal Meshash, director of the Payments Division (PD), all pension savings of Palestinian workers employed in Israel will be transferred from the responsibility of the Payments Division to Amitim Pensiona Fund https://www.amitim.com/about/ starting on April 1, 2023.
This is an important step, which was made following severe criticism that was directed at the PD for the way Palestinian employees’ pension funds were managed for over fifty years. While the old system until now kept the funds in a closed, secret manner and without giving employees interest and compensation for increases in the index, Amitim Fund would ensure professional and transparent management like that enjoyed by employees in Israel.
MAAN and Kav LaOved positively view the transfer of Palestinian workers’ pension savings to the Amitim Pension Fund. However, the organizations are concerned that such a dramatic change is being carried out hastily, and without informing the affected employees of these new arrangements. The result is a wave of false rumors that have led many to request immediate withdrawal of their funds, which will cause them significant financial losses.
Kav LaOved and MAAN wrote on Dec 21 to PD demanding an extension to the period of implementing this change and the conduct of a comprehensive information campaign among affected Palestinian workers, so the latter can get accurate information and take informed decisions.
The new arrangement still requires clarification regarding its statutes, the methods of joining it, as well as how employees can withdraw funds upon completion of their work. At the same time, and according to the data in our possession, we can say that:
- Amitim is a veteran pension management company that manages billions of Shekels in savings of employees in Israel. This guarantees professional and efficient management for the employees and puts an end to the uncertainties that existed regarding the future of their pension savings (many Palestinians were afraid that their savings will be moved to the hands of the Palestinian Authority that they see as corrupt)
- Following transfer to Amitim, Palestinian employees with savings will be able to monitor, via the company’s website, their savings and employers’ deposits, and will be guaranteed profits and interest on these funds. Amitim will collect management fees, as is customary of all pension funds.
- We regret that announcement of this important change was made hastily and call on the PD to extend the withdrawal period beyond the set date of December 29, 2022, for employees not interested in transferring their savings to Amitim.
- In a letter sent by Kav LaOved and MAAN to Attorney Meshash, the organizations demanded an end to the intolerable delay in releasing funds to Palestinian workers who finished their employment and submitted requests to receive their savings. According to the information in our possession, since April 2022 no funds have been transferred to employees, including those funds whose release was approved by the PD.
- Kav LaOved and MAAN are active in the field and in close contact with both Palestinian workers and the authorities. The two organizations will continue to work together to ensure that the transition to Amitim is done correctly, so the promise that this move will end the neglect and mismanagement of Palestinian workers’ pension savings will indeed be fulfilled. We have also published this announcement in Arabic as part of the effort of both organizations to make information available to employees in a way that guarantees their rights.