Nurses protest at Haifa University 370.
(photo credit: Hadar Zevulun)
Women’s wages in the public sector are considerably lower than men’s, a report
released Sunday showed.
According to the annual Wage Supervisor’s Report
on Public Sector Salaries, which releases data on government employee wages a
year after the fact, there was a 23.9 percent pay gap between incomes of men and
women on government payrolls in 2011.
Although the tax code, which favors
women, narrowed the gender gap significantly, the post-tax final take-home pay
differential between men and women remained 15%.
“There is a lot of room
for improvement,” Finance Ministry Wage Supervisor Kobi Amsalem said in the
The reason for the disparity was not simple wage discrimination,
Instead, it reflected the fact that fewer women occupy
high-ranking positions on government payrolls. Men are also far more likely than
women to work overtime, he said.
Women represented 78% of publicsector
wage earners in the bracket of NIS 5,000-NIS 8,000 but only 33% of those earning
over NIS 30,000.
People who work the same job with the same experience
earn the same amounts, regardless of their sex, Deputy Wage Supervisor Yossi
Cohen said in the report.
The data in the report covers the calendar year
of 2011 only and does not reflect several agreements reached between the
Treasury and various working groups, including nurses, social workers and
doctors, which were either signed in 2012 or had not yet come into full force in
The divide represents a move in the wrong direction from the
previous year; in 2010, men earned 23% more than women pretax, while in 2009 the
gap was 23.6%.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On criticized Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and his economic policies over the figures.
unacceptable that the women’s wages in the public sector are 76% of men’s, and
that of the 100 highest earners, only seven are women,” she said. “The state,
which is supposed to lead the way in closing gender gaps in wages, is the one
“These figures are a result of the crushing economic
policies of the Netanyahu government, which sanctifies growth and the inflation
target but neglects important social parameters, starting with the deep gender
inequality in Israeli society.”
Because doctors earn wages relatively
higher than most government employees, the vast majority of high-level government
salary expenditures were distributed through the Health Ministry. About 71% of
high-income government salaries, defined as over NIS 35,000 a month, were in the
Health Ministry, while the shares of the next three highest-earning departments
– the State Attorney’s Office, the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s
Office – were in the low single digits. The three government bodies that paid
out the highest average salaries were all ports.
The average government
salary rose 4.7% from 2010, from NIS 12,929 to NIS 13,539. The government paid
out about NIS 54 billion in wages.
The report demonstrated a “depressing
lack of central control and normative confusion” on the part of the government,
Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce president Uriel Lynn said,
characterizing the public sector as “uncontrolled.”