Knesset lawmakers and cabinet ministers are due for a 3% salary increase in January - the same month they face voters in elections. The same rate of increase will also go into effect for top unelected officials, including the president, the state comptroller, the governor of the Bank of Israel, judges and ministry directors-general.
The salary increases come at a sensitive time. The cabinet already imposed a series of tax hikes and spending cuts in the summer and in all likelihood will have to take more severe measures when the next government is formed, when it belatedly gets down to the work of the 2013 state budget.
The pay hike for the prime minster and his cabinet, as well as for the state comptroller and the governor of the central bank, is based on the rate of inflation for 2012. The final size of the increase awaits publication of the final 2012 consumer price index on January 15, but given the rate of inflation to date, the rise will be about 3%.
For the president, lawmakers and judges, the rate is linked to the average national wage. That will also be determined in January, but sources said it is likely to also be 3%.
For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who now has a gross salary of NIS 46,003 a month, his raise will amount to NIS 1,277 a month. For cabinet ministers, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, the increase in their NIS 41,324 monthly gross wage will be NIS 1,137.
President Shimon Peres will see his NIS 52,000 monthly salary go up NIS 1,457, and Knesset legislators will get an extra NIS 1,1015 on their current monthly salaries of NIS 37,281.
But not all the news is good for Knesset members. The new cars they were supposed to get in January will not be delivered until after the elections, TheMarker has learned. Knesset director-general Dan Landau and Knesset Comptroller Haim Avidor decided to delay delivery of the new cars, which are being leased, on the assumption that about a third of the Knesset will not return to office after the elections, saddling their successors with second-hand cars.
Cabinet members, on the other hand, are due to receive new cars, early elections or not. After turning down the option of a BMW 328, all the ministers will be receiving use of a Citroen C5.
The Knesset's winter session opens today for what is likely to be a one-day session after lawmakers voted to disperse for early elections (although they may come back for a single-day session in order to deal with pre-election, housecleaning legislation ). If so, it will mean they worked for less than half a year in 2012. They were in session from January till the end of March before going on the Passover break. They returned for another three months for the summer session before breaking again until today. The plenum only works on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to enable MKs to engage in party-related work.
Because of the elections, MKs will likely work for just six months next year as well. They will gather for a festive swearing-in ceremony after the elections in January but will have little to do until a new government is sworn in, probably in March. At the end of March, they will go on the Passover break.
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