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Senior staff and directors of Israel's health-service providers comprised seven out of the top 10 most highly paid public servants in 2005, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Finance Ministry's director of wages. Meanwhile, the Bank of Israel's top wage earner finished in 38th place, a big change for the central bank, which owned the first 14 spots in 2004.
Meuhedet employees took the first, second, third and fifth spots, with the highest paid employee earning NIS 95,633 a month, before taxes. Maccabi and Clalit as well as Oil Refinery Ltd. executives filled out the remainder of the top 10.
The report for 2005 is comprised of two sections, with the first including the salaries of the top 1,000 wage earners from the public sector, based on research conducted on more than 270,000 workers. The second part of the study, to be released in about 10 days, details reasons for salary discrepancies among public servants as well as clarifications of court rulings in which salary structures for State-workers were determined.
In 2004, the Bank of Israel noted that salaries that were reported for its employees included special bonuses that were awarded to retiring executives as well as redeemed vacation days that had built up over each worker's career, and that in 2004 an unusually high number of vacation days had been redeemed. The total number, including bonuses, earned by an employee, was then added together, resulting in the Bank commanding half of the 100 best-paid posts in 2004.
Following the release of 2004's list, the Bank of Israel was ordered by the Finance Ministry to put an end to many of the benefits deemed improper as well as slash salaries that workers had been receiving. Additionally, Eli Cohen, the director of wages, informed the workers' union that workers would be expected to return money retroactively that had been paid out "illegally." This led to what has become a year-long dispute between the Bank, its workers and the Finance Ministry, which resulted in some 800 employees walking off the job last week. The workers agreed to suspend the strike last Thursday for a period of one week in an effort to reach a new agreement on wage conditions.
The report for 2005, however, only factors in the salary that is paid to Bank of Israel employees, which is why BOI employees accounted for just 63 of the top 1,000 highest paid state-workers.
"This list more accurately reflects what our top employees earn," said Gali Gabbai, spokeswoman for the union, on Tuesday. "Opposed to what everyone tends to think," she added, "the bank's workers are not grossly overpaid."
The top wage-earner at the Bank of Israel, according to the report, was its comptroller with a salary of NIS 55,736.
Other state-employees finishing in the top-50 on 2005's list included Ashdod (NIS 60,632) and Haifa (NIS 59,755) port executives, the CEO of ELTA Electronics (NIS 59,172), and the director of Mifal Hapayis (NIS 56,019).