I’m Working Illegally.

No, not like that –

My employers aren’t paying me a legal wage.

They aren’t paying me at all.

Just tips.

I have recently discovered that, in Israel, it’s illegal to replace a salary with tips.

Back in January, when I first started working as a waitress, indeed, I was shocked to find that employers actually got away with not paying their employees. Instead, my bosses simply funnel our tips through the system, deduct taxes, and re-package them as a wage. We “get” to keep any tips over minimum wage.

The only wage my bosses pay is the difference between our tips and minimum wage, if we don’t happen to pass the minimum salary. (If we only make $4 an hour, they pay the $1 extra to reach the $5 per hour minimum)

Others I’ve spoken to tell me that all servers receive only tips. This shit is normal. But now I know it’s also illegal.


I’ve got another month to work and earn as much money as possible before flying to the states.

Am I going to find a better-paying job in that time?

No. Everywhere. Everywhere I’ve looked pays minimum. At least at the restaurant I occasionally surpass the basic wage.

Am I going to sue my employers?

Are you kidding?! With all the bureaucracy I’ve experienced here, I have absolutely no faith in the system to achieve anything, period, let alone anything on time. Once I find the proper person to speak to, I’ll pay all my money in legal fees and transportation costs. Things will be delayed, I’ll have to return the next day, the office will be closed, the meetings will be postponed again.

I’m tired of dealing with this.

You know, having a good job makes all the difference in life. The impressions I have of a country depend on my community; the community we’re around most are our colleagues.

If I had a good job, I’d love Israel more.

This is blunt, but it’s the truth. The low wages, and the bureaucracy which prevents achieving a fair wage, is truly making me sick of this country. From where I stand, Israel is full of cheats.

It’s a place where people will hang you out to dry, so long as it saves them a few shekels.

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