Israel’s cabinet has approved a law allowing six long weekends per year, including two in the summer holidays and four over Pesach and Chanukah.

The bill, signed off by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, is a watered-down version of the original, submitted by a centrist parliamentarian, which had asked for one Sunday per month.

Israeli working hours currently preclude Friday afternoons and Saturdays, to cater for Shabbat, when many cannot drive or work, but Sundays have always been a working day, in contrast to the norms of the international community.

The six long weekends, to begin in 2017, were approved after a bill pushed by Kulanu MK Eli Cohen, who said it would “dramatically change the characteristics of labour” and “reduce burn-out”. He added that, for many, it would give crucial family time.

His was not the first effort to extend weekend working, with former minister Silvan Shalom first suggesting Saturdays and Sundays be designated time-off three years ago.