Hadassah CEO Reveals His Salary to Allay Workers' Resentment

Employees of the financially strapped hospital maintain that CEO is overpaid: 'It's like getting a letter from Marie Antoinette with a cake recipe attached.'

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Hadassah Medical Organization’s CEO distributed copies of his pay slip to employees on Sunday in a bid to refute union allegations that he receives bloated salaries at a time when the hospital is laying off staff and failing to pay wages on time.

According to the pay slip, CEO Avigdor Kaplan receives a monthly gross salary of 99,204 shekels ($28,334), far less than the 170,000 shekels ($48,554) a union leader had alleged. Kaplan said he had voluntarily cut his salary 11,000 shekels ($3,141) last October, the month when employees of the financially troubled medical center were not paid on time. Even the original, higher amount, Kaplan said, was lower than the compensation of his two predecessors in the top job at Hadassah.

But Kaplan’s move didn’t earn much appreciation from Hadassah employees. “This is like getting a letter from Marie Antoinette with a cake recipe attached,” said one senior employee.

Kaplan revealed his compensation after Amnon Bruchian, the Hadassah workers committee chief, claimed in a letter to the staff that the CEO enjoyed a monthly gross salary of 170,000 shekels. Bruchian also cited excessive salaries for Hadassah’s vice presidents, which he claimed ranged between 70,000 shekels and 80,000 shekels a month. Kaplan said the figutres for the vice presdients were also incorrect.

In addition to the letter, Bruchian also ran a large advertisement in the Israel Hayom daily showing what the alleged salaries of Kaplan and the vice presidents receive. He asserted that management did not intend to pay employees’ convalescence pay for 2013.

Hadassah has accumulated a debt of 1.25 billion shekels ($356 million) and is running annual deficit estimated at between 250 million and 300 million shekels. In return for significant financial support from Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and from the government, the medical center is in the midst of putting a recovery plan into place. Part of the plan includes broad-based budget cuts and hundreds of layoffs.

“The route to Hadassah’s recovery will be long, and time is working against us,” Kaplan said in a letter to the staff. “If Bruchain had accepted the outlines of the recovery plan, which I showed him five months ago, we could have already had an agreement and our position in negotiations with the government would have been stronger and the extent of cutbacks significantly smaller.”

An investigation by Haaretz this month revealed that Bruchian earns a gross salary of 39,000 shekels ($11,139) a month.

Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.Credit: Shiran Granot

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