PA employees in Gaza say salaries deducted to pay electricity debts
March 20, 2013
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority employees in Gaza said Monday that money has been deducted from their monthly salaries to pay debts to an electricity company.
Civil servant Ibrahim Hamid told Ma'an that more than 600 shekels ($163) was deducted from his February salary, which he received on Monday.
Over 170 shekels ($46) was deducted from his previous wage, he added.
Several other civil servants telephoned Ma'an offices in Gaza City to complain about deductions from their salaries.
"For the first time in several months, Fayyad's government has succeeded in paying a full monthly salary, however, the government deducted portions from salaries mounting in some cases to 800 shekels," a lecturer at a public university in Gaza told Ma'an.
Ma'an asked a lawyer to examine whether such deductions are legally acceptable, who confirmed that the deductions were illegal.
Salah Abdul-Ati highlighted that deductions from employee salaries to cover debts on behalf of parents, grandparents or landlords are illegal.
Therefore the government cannot deduct money from civil servant salaries except after obtaining a court order for each case separately.
Article 51 of the Palestinian civil service law of 1998 limited permissible deductions to insurance, retirement and income tax only.
The PA employs about 170,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza, where its employees continue to receive salaries even though the Hamas government has replaced them with its own civil servants since the 2007 split between the governments.
Last summer, Palestinian officials said Israel was threatening to cut off power over unpaid debts to electricity companies, which total around $100 million after December's tax seizure by Israel, which was transferred to the Israeli electricity supplier.
Related Topics: Gaza, Palestinians
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