Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Adar 5762 - February 27, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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129 Government Bodies Overpay Their Workers
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The eighth annual report of the Finance Ministry Wage Director about salaries paid in 2000 found that 129 of a total of 676 organizations funded and supported by the Israeli government overpaid their senior employees.

The report is prepared annually in accordance with the basic budget law and presents employers' salary costs per worker for senior staff of public bodies such as local authorities, government companies, city unions and religious councils, but does not examine the wages of those working in national government offices.

The report tallies wage costs to employers which are about 25 to 35 percent more than the employees' pre-tax gross salary since they include the cost of benefits.

The 2000 report found that the highest average salaries were paid by the Israel Electric Corporation (NIS 48,647 ($10,350) per month at a cost to the employer of NIS 65,364 ($13,900) a month), the Ports and Railroads Authority, the Bank of Israel and the Israeli Airports Association. The report also found that high salaries, even by non-Israeli standards, were paid to senior staff members at universities. These rankings were similar to the results of previous years.

The average salary in the electric company reached NIS 15,484 ($3300). In contrast, the average salary in Israel reached NIS 6,789 ($1444) per month.

IE officials said the high salaries were based on employee tenure of 30-35 years. The utility said many of its senior executives came from the Knesset, Israel Police, and IDF, bringing with them large pensions and benefits.

The IE said it was not on the list of wage irregularities and deviations, claiming that its salary scale is in accordance with the law. MKs and Treasury officials have openly criticized IE employee benefits, including free electricity.

Senior Bank of Israel officials were in second place to IE with a monthly average salary of NIS 48,647 and a cost to the state totaled NIS 61,710. The average salary paid to central bank employees was NIS 15,507.

By law, 691 bodies were required to report on their workers' wages and conditions in 2000; 676 of them, comprising 97.8 percent, reported. The total sum of employer wage costs in the public sector in 2000 was NIS 32 billion. A total of 230,338 employees worked at 198,095 positions in the 676 bodies included in the report.

The 2000 report, like last year's report, did not include the four health maintenance organizations -- Clalit, Maccabi, Meuhedet and Leumit -- since they did not hand in their wage information. The issue is being dealt with by the High Court of Justice.

According to the report, the highest single wage cost was for Tel Aviv municipality legal counsel at NIS 118,961 ($25,300) per month, a figure greater than the annual wage costs for most public sector employees. She was fired in September of that year following a High Court of Justice ruling that found the city had been illegally collecting fines.

The second highest salary went to a senior executive at Israel Electric, with a salary of NIS 109,277. Treasury data showed that a test pilot for Israel Aviation Industries cost the state NIS 76,571.

University presidents remained among the country's highest paid public workers. The Technion Institute of Science president earned NIS 74,830 ($16,000) in total wage expenses, making him the highest paid university head in Israel. Haifa University's president cost the state NIS 71,895, followed by the Ben-Gurion University president. Weizmann Institute's president's salary costs totaled NIS 70,308.

Altogether 311 senior public sector employees in the nation's top state-owned firms earned more than NIS 40,000 per month which comes out to over $100,000 a year.

Only 19 percent of the 676 state entities reporting to the Treasury about the year 2000 were found to have committed wage irregularities, compared to 21 percent in 1999, and 40 percent in 1998. The Finance Ministry said bodies found to be increasing salaries by more than 3.5 percent would be forced to return excess wages, under Article 29 of the nation's Budget Law.

Other state entities with high average salaries included El Al Israel Airlines (NIS 16,267), and the Ports and Railways Authority (NIS 15,867).


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