I kind of feel guilty about not blogging or updating as much as I used to. But this is an aliyah blog, so...I don't know...maybe if I let it evolve into a "living in Israel" blog I'll be inclined to update more frequently?
Today was an oleh adventure day. Actually, Monday was too. Start with today.
Over Chanukah I went to Mas Hachnasa, one of the government offices that deals with taxes. I work at more than one place (one place is a regular position, and the other is coverage), so I had to do something known as a "teum mas," which means "coordination of tax." I don't tltally understand it, but I think that it's something like this: If you make up to a certain amount (somewhere around 5000 shekels/month-- don't think in dollars; it's more depressing than thinking in shekels) from your first job, your salary is taxed at 0%. At your second job, if you make less than at your first, that is taxed at a higher rate-- possibly also up to a certain monthy salary amount. There's also something in between (probably a bunch of somethings in between), up to 48%. If you do not do this teum mas, you automatically get taxed 48%. You WILL get back, but only after you do this teum mas. When you do the teum mas, you declare one place of employment as your primary employment and the other(s) as secondary. Like I said before, the salary at the secondary place of work gets taxed at a higher rate.
Now there's something else-- another office-- Bituach Leumi, which is National Insurance (like Social Security in the US). If you have only one job, then you do not have to do a teum bituach leumi-- coordination of the national insurance (like the teum mas, but for National Insurance). If you have additional jobs, you have to give in a form to coordinate the bituach leumi from both places of work. You NEVER hear about this form-- unlike teum mas, which you hear about frequently.
So...last week I did teum mas. And since I worked at Misrad Hachinuch, that was considered my primary income-- and so my current jobs were considered secondary places of work, which meant they would automatically be taxed at 48% unless I had done teum mas. I didn't realize this, because I told the rep that I was no longer working at Misrad Hachinuch...apparently she did something wrong, because I got slammed by Bituach Leumi.
Sooooooooooooooo...I figured that I had to do this teum bituach leumi, which I had never heard of. So begins today's adventure...
8 am: Bituach Leumi. Get told that I don't have to do teum bituach leumi, because according to my paycheck (which includes the breakdown of how much I got paid and how much I paid to who/what/where), I was paying the correct amount. And was told that I did teum mas wrong-- or they did something wrong. And that if I can't get teum mas to fix it, then in March I can apply for a refund (which I am entitled to)
9 am: Mas Hachnasa: Fortunately I had the papers they gave me over Chanukah, as well as my paychecks. So I got there and was told that the teum mas that I did over Chanukah was correct-- and that starting 2013, I should just make my primary workplace what it was. I explained that it IS my primary place of employment-- I was no longer at Misrad Hachinuch, and hadn't been since the end of August. So there was only one additional place of employment-- not the two they had originally written down. So the rep said, "Do you have an authorization of termination of employment?" I said no, I didn't know I had to get one. I could, but it wouldn't be until the following week. So he asked another rep who was in the next cubicle and he was like, "So do feuhfnljkewfhj-- what's the problem?" So they went back and forth and eventually gave me a new paper for Misrad Hachinuch and a new paper for my current place of work. So now Misrad Hachinuch is no longer a place of employment, and my current place of work, with a regular position, is my primary place of employment and the coverage is a secondary place of employment.
10:15: Histadrut Hamorim: The Teachers' Union (there are two; this is the one I belong to). Back up to Monday...
This past Monday I went to Misrad Hachinuch because I had to bring them the aforementioned teum mas paper, and to find out why I was getting negative paychecks. Turns out they want money back. Last year, in the middle of the school year, they decided that this school year would start on August 26 instead of September 1. But wait! They paid me for all of August (including August 26-31), and now they want that amount back. I spoke to the woman who is apparently in charge of the finance department and she was not very receptive. She kept saying, "Well, you didn't work those days and we paid you for them, so you owe us money." She seemed to be oblivious to/ignore/not understand the fact that the paycheck I receive is in proportion to the number of months I work during the school year. She agreed with me that if I worked only in June that I would get paid in July and August 1/10 of my salary-- corresponding with the number of months that I worked during the school year. She then said, "Go talk to your union." And so today I went.
...back to today. I went to the Union, and there is one guy who handles all these things. Yes, one. And I have never had to wait more than 20 minutes. Today apparently people made appointments. Unfortunately I couldn't wait, because I had to go to one of my schools from last year to sort out hours that I never got paid for at 1 pm-- and the woman who handles THAT had to leave early today. So I made an appointment for next Thursday (because I have to go back to Misrad Hachinuch on Monday, to give them the teum mas paper, and the only afternoon/evening that the Union is open is Monday, from 3:30-5 pm. Yay! (not)
...insert shopping at the shuk...
1 pm: Former school, to get hours sorted out. Fortunately that got done quite easily and I was out by about 1:45.
It's been a day. Now on to cleaning and cooking seasonally/dead stuff.
But wait: Three exciting links. Thank you to Ronit (Robin) Unger for the first, where I got to the others:
From BatAliyah: Food Shopping in Israel
From Marc Gottlieb: Chicken Chart (I'm a fan of the alliteration), Meat Guide, and Spice List
I have my own weigh-ins on shopping, cooking, and adapting foods/recipes. More on that in my food blog...whenever I update that...
Anyone want in on making a guide for new olim? Any new olim want to know about specific topics?