After concerted efforts exerted by the Beit Izzy Shapiro Forum of Organizations, with the active involvement of Techiya Posen, Director Ezer Mizion’s Advocacy Unit, an amendment to the law of Parental Work Absences was passed entitling parents of special children to additional paid sick days to care for a special needs child who is ill. The amendment also requires the employer to pay the parent from his first day of absence, in contrast to parents of normative children, and allows the parent to take off half-days, such as to take the child for a brief blood test, without counting it as a full day off.
This achievement joins a list of benefits that the collaborative efforts have already attained for special needs children and their families.
For example, with the help of Attorney Valery Zilkah, the Forum was able to persuade Professor Ohr Noy’s Commission to expand the roster of children eligible for the National Insurance Institute Disability Allowance and also to create benefit packages for children with rare syndromes.
Due to its extensive work with the population of parents of special needs children, Ezer Mizion plays a crucial role in these lobbying projects. “Because of the hundreds of phone calls we deal with every week, we have a finger on the pulse and can see what benefits are most lacking at any given time. While the Forum presents a general picture of the needs, we are the ones who are on the spot and can provide names and numbers, with real people behind them,” says Ms. Posen. “At the Ohr-Noy Commission, for example, we presented documented cases of parents whose children are not receiving the benefits they desperately need and rightly deserve.”
Ezer Mizion’s valuable experience is applied not only in appealing to entities such as the National Insurance Institute and the Ministry of Health. Recently, Ezer Mizion worked together with the Bnei Brak Municipality to best implement the National Program for Children and Youth at Risk. Ezer Mizion’s Advocacy Unit is equipped with IT systems that automatically sort the requests for assistance into the various categories and geographical locations. Based on this information, they were able to direct the Municipality to the areas most in need of attention among the local population.
“The gap between available benefits and growing needs is still significant. We listen closely, and then join the Forum to convey the real picture to the entities that can help. Together, we have made great advances, but much remains to be done,” concludes Ms. Posen.