Government company employees earn highest average wage

Top of the list are Clalit, Meuhedet Health Services and Israel Aerospace workers

October 26, 2010 23:49
FINANCE MINISTER Yuval Steinitz (left) and Wage Di

Steinitz Ilan 311. (photo credit: Yael Simhon)

As in previous years, Israel’s most highly paid government workers in 2009 were employees working for government companies, earning an average monthly salary of NIS 17,066 – more than twice the average monthly salary in the economy.

“We are making significant progress year to year on clamping down on excessive salaries in the public sector but there are still corrections and adjustments which need to be taken care of,” said Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) at the presentation of the 2009 annual report of public-sector wages in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

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The 2009 annual report of public-sector wages, published by Finance Ministry Wage Director Ilan Levin on Tuesday, showed that average gross monthly salaries of employees working at the Israel Port Authority was highest at NIS 25,401 followed by the Haifa Port Company with NIS 22,981, and the Ashdod Port Company with NIS 22,490. Workers at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. earned an average monthly salary of NIS 21,502 and at the Israel Electric Corporation average salaries amounted to NIS 20,185.

The report comprises the salaries of 306,575 government employees working at 700 public organizations, which are divided into seven categories including local authorities, government companies, religious institutions, statutory agencies and other state-supported bodies such as public-health organizations and universities.

Total salary costs of the public-sector bodies amounted to NIS 46.8 billion last year compared with NIS 45.6 billion in 2008.

Average monthly salaries in the economy as a whole stood at NIS 7,973 in 2009 compared with NIS 7,921 in 2008, and NIS 7,629 in 2007. Civil servants in the public sector earned an average monthly salary of NIS 7,623 in 2009 compared with NIS 7,556 in 2008, and NIS 7,279 in 2007. Employees in the private sector earned an average monthly salary of NIS 8,140 in 2009, compared with NIS 8,088 in 2008 and NIS 7,790 in 2007.

The average monthly salary in government ministries stood at NIS 12,752 in 2009. Defense ministry workers earned an average salary of NIS 18,784 last year, while the average salary for police employees amounted to NIS 13,591.

Bank of Israel employees earned an average monthly salary of NIS 22,924, while those at the Israel Securities Authority received NIS 22,044.

The lowest-paid public-sector employees were municipal company workers, with an average monthly salary of NIS 6,077. They were followed by religious institutions workers, at NIS 6,295, and local authorities workers, at NIS 8,847.

Similar to 2008, last year, top-paid jobs were occupied by senior staff working at Clalit and Meuhedet Health Services and at the Israel Aerospace Industries. Senior medical staff working for health-care services organizations filled the majority of the top-10 list of the best paid jobs in 2009 led by Clalit Health Services.

At the top of the list for the second year in a row was Dr. Gideon Sahar, chief of cardiology at Soroka Medical Center, owned by Clalit Health Services, with a monthly salary of NIS 109,918 in 2009 compared with NIS 95,076 in the previous year. He was followed by Yaacov Galazan, legal adviser at the IAI with a monthly salary of NIS 101,384. In third place was Prof. Gabriel Sandro, head of the blood surgery department at Clalit’s Soroka Medical Center, with a monthly salary of NIS 89,911. In fourth place was Itzhak Levin, of Clalit’s Rabin Medical Center with a monthly salary of NIS 87,913. Closing out the top-10 list were Zeev Aharonson, head of the medical department at Meuhedet Health Services at eighth place with a monthly salary of NIS 81,595 closely followed by Arie Penso, deputy manager of human resources at the IAI with a monthly salary of NIS 81,121, and Yehoshua Eldar, VP Business Development and subsidiaries at IAI earning a monthly salary of NIS 80,526.

In reaction to the report, the Israel Medical Association (IMA) said that the list of highly paid public workers including physicians “perverts the real picture relating to doctors’ salaries” and that the figures “shift public attention away from the real problem - the acute shortage of doctors.”

Dr. Leonid Eidelman, who chairs the IMA, said that it was unfortunate that every year, the Finance Ministry “makes cynical and political use of the salaries of a tiny number of senior doctors instead of telling the public the hard and embarrassing truth that [ordinary] doctors who do not do extra work earn NIS 11,000 a month.”

“All the well-paid physicians listed are senior people who are directors-general of large medical institutions or department heads who work day and night and are responsible for thousands of employees and have life-and-death burdens on their shoulders,” he added.

Excessive public-sector salary payments were found in 153, or 23%, of public bodies, including the Beersheba and Hadera Municipality, Tel Aviv University, Meuhedet Health Services and the Standards Institution of Israel. In the report it was stated that as in previous years, the majority of cases of excessive salaries were found at higher education institutions and healthcare service organizations.

The Finance Ministry said its enforcement actions against excessive publicsector salaries had saved the Treasury’s coffers NIS 70 million in 2009. Since 1999, the enforcement unit has saved the Treasury more than NIS 4b., it said.

Last August, Levin set up a special wage-enforcement task force to crack down on excessive salaries in the public sector.

The task force was launched to examine the approval process of excessive salaries at public bodies and agencies financed by the budget. Investigators seek to identify the responsible managers who approved the salaries so that disciplinary action can be taken against them, including disciplinary hearings if necessary.

Judy Siegel contributed to this report.

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