What is IS 5568?

The Israel Standard (IS) 5568 is the website accessibility standard in Israel. It came into law in October 2017. IS 5568 has its origin in the Equal Rights For Persons With Disabilities (ERPD) Law, which was passed in 1998. The objective of this law was to ensure the dignity and liberty of people with disabilities and provide them opportunities for active participation in society. This law included people with temporary or permanent mental, intellectual, physical, or cognitive impairment.

How Did IS 5568 Evolve?

The journey towards including technology under the purview of accessibility began in 2012. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the Israeli government. A key guideline of the United Nations was to make all Information and Communication Technology (ICT) available to people with disabilities.

The final momentum towards creating a set of guidelines and standards for website accessibility resulted in the creation of IS 5568. The standard is based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Businesses That Need to Comply with IS 5568

IS 5568 specifies that any entity that provides services to the public, regardless of its size, public or private, should adhere to accessibility standards. Some of the key services include health, entertainment, social welfare, education, learning, leisure, sports, tourism, transportation, cultural, hospitality, commerce, religious, energy, telecommunication, banking, credit, insurance, pension, and other financial services.

 

Although IS 5568 compliance is required for all businesses, the size of the business determines the amount of time each has to get accessible as per IS 5568 standards. However, private contractors who have an average annual revenue less than NIS 100,000 are excluded from having to adhere to IS 5568. The following table summarizes the IS 5568 timeline requirements for businesses based on their size and revenue:

 

Size Setup In Average Annual Revenue To be Compliant By:
Small Not applicable <NIS 300,000 October 2020
Medium to Large After 2017 >NIS 300,000 With immediate effect
Medium to Large Prior to 2017 Not applicable October 2020
Private Contractors Not applicable <NIS 100,000 October 2020

 

What is the Cost of Non-Compliance?

The impact of not adhering to IS 5568 is quite severe in Israel. If a person browses a company’s website and faces an issue accessing content, then they can sue the organization behind the website. Under the Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law, 5758-1998, it is a civil wrong to have inaccessible websites. This makes the organization open to class action lawsuits as well.

 

When it has been established that a website is inaccessible to people with disabilities, the organization behind the website could be required to pay statutory damages of up to 50,000 NIS. The litigant does not have to be a person with disability, nor do they have to prove that they had to incur damages or losses because of website inaccessibility. They merely need to prove that the website was inaccessible.