Like in previous years, Israel's most expensive government workers in 2008 were employees working in government companies, earning an average monthly salary of NIS 17,056 - more than twice the average monthly salary in the economy.
The 2008 annual report of public-sector wages, published by Finance Ministry Wage Director Ilan Levin on Monday, showed that average gross monthly salaries of employees working in public bodies rose by 3.1 percent in nominal terms but fell by 1.5% in real terms to NIS 12,076.
The report comprises the salaries of 293,000 employees working at 690 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 45.6 billion in 2008, out of which NIS 34.5b. was salary and direct expenses, not including employer costs, retroactive payments and severance pay.
Average monthly salaries in the economy as a whole stood at NIS 7,921 in 2008, compared with NIS 7,629 in 2007. Employees in the private sector earned an average monthly salary of NIS 8,088 in 2008 and NIS 7,790 in 2007.
Civil servants in the public sector earned an average monthly salary of NIS 7,556 in 2008, compared with NIS 7,279 in 2007.
As in previous years, employees working for government companies in 2008 earned the highest average monthly salary: NIS 17,056.
At the top of the list was the Bank for Industrial Development in Israel, with an average monthly salary of NIS 27,676. It was followed by the Haifa Port Company, with an average monthly salary of NIS 24,070, and the Israel Electric Company, at NIS 20,016.
Bank of Israel employees earned an average monthly salary of NIS 23,028, while those at the Israel Securities Authority received NIS 21,861.
The lowest-paid public-sector employees were municipal company
workers, with an average monthly salary of NIS 5,931. They were followed by religious institutions workers, at NIS 6,368, and local authorities workers, at NIS 8,866.
In state-funded bodies, the Technion paid the highest average monthly salary, at NIS 15,793. It was followed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at NIS 14,559; the Weizman Institute, at NIS 14,509;and Maccabi Health Services, at NIS 14,219.
The report showed that similar to the years 2006 and 2007, top-paid jobs were occupied by senior medical staff working at Clalit and Maccabi Health Services.
Only senior medical staff working for health-care services organizations filled the top-10 list of the best paid jobs in 2008; for the first time, Bank of Israel and government companies workers did not make it.
At the top of the list was Dr. Gideon Sahar, chief of cardiology at Soroka Medical Center, owned by Clalit Health Services, with a monthly salary of NIS 95,076. He was followed by the chief of the blood surgery department, with a monthly salary of NIS 87,664. In third place was a general manager of Meuhedet Health Services, with a monthly salary of NIS 82,410.
The highest government company employee, who came in No. 12 on the list, was a navigator at the Haifa Port Company, with a monthly salary of NIS 69,769. The highest-paid Bank of Israel employee earned a monthly salary of NIS 58,187 and was No. 68 on the list.
Excessive public-sector salary payments were found in 140, or 20%, of public bodies, including the Tel Aviv Municipality, Ichilov Hospital, the Israel Electric Company, the Israel Airport Authority, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan University, and the Israel Standards Authority.
The Finance Ministry said its enforcement actions against excessive public-
sector salaries had saved the Treasury's coffers NIS 181 million in 2009.
Since 1999, the enforcement unit has saved the Treasury more than NIS 4b., it said.
This 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.