Israel public sector: Women earn 24% less than men

Annual reports on salaries finds a 23.9% pay gap between incomes of men and woman on government payrolls in 2011.

January 6, 2013 18:03
2 minute read.
Nurses protest at Haifa University.

Nurses protest at Haifa University 370. (photo credit: Hadar Zevulun)


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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.

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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 report.

The reason for the disparity was not simple wage discrimination, he said.

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 2011.

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.

“It is 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 perpetuating them.

“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.”

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