Clalit Health Doctors Had Top Salaries in Public Sector Last Year

Treasury report details thousands of state workers who earn at least four times national average.

Senior physicians at Clalit Health Services, the country’s largest health maintenance organization, again took the top spot in latest list of top public sector wage earners for 2012, the Finance Ministry reported Monday.

The highest earner was the director of the vascular surgery department of Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, which is operated by Clalit. Prof. Gabriel Sandro made 106,000 shekels ($30,260) a month last year. Clalit’s physicians are government employees.

Sandro’s compensation package included his salary as head of a surgery department, which rose significantly as a result of the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2011 between the state and the Israel Medical Association, which represents Israeli physicians in salary negotiations. It also includes payment for after-hours surgery and other procedures that Sandro performed at Soroka.  

The wage report has become an annual hand-wringing ritual over excessive public-sector wages and calls for measures to address the issue.

The average monthly Israeli salary in 2012 was 9,022 shekels a month. Finance Ministry wage director Kobi Amsalem said yesterday that wage negotiations for workers in critical public services should be subject to binding arbitration.

The salary list, which was prepared by Amsalem, also showed that average wage costs at state-owned Israel Electric Corporation rose by more than 19%, apparently due to pension obligations.

The average gross monthly salary for all full-time public-sector workers was 14,109 shekels, up 3.5% from 2011, not adjusted for inflation. The comparable figure for the average public sector contract worker, who is employed by a contractor rather than directly by their workplace, was 6,897 shekels at government officers and 5,951 shekels at other state organizations.

The average monthly wage costs for Israel Electric Corporation reached 35,362 per person in 2012. The utility spent 5.34 billion shekels, about 19% of annual revenue, on wage costs. The average gross monthly salary at the company in 2012 was 23,195 shekels, up 3.3% from 2011.

The average wage of the top 300 executives at the utility rose modestly, to 48,466 shekels a month, but average management-level salaries actually declined by 3%, to 55,097 a month. The number of top public-sector wage earners in the top 1,000 employed by IEC dropped last year to about 30 from 84. Staffing levels at IEC remained static at about 12,600.

At state-owned ports, another sector where wages are generally deemed excessive, Haifa Port took the lead. It employed 54 people with average gross salaries of 37,700 a month, another 219 with average of 46,200 shekels and 833 who averaged 23,500 shekels a month. In Ashdod, only 15 earned salaries averaging 39,500 a month, but 1,015 earned an average of 23,100 shekels.

At government ministries, the average monthly wage of 61,417 employees last year came to 14,937 shekels, including staff on personal contracts rather than collective wage agreements. That marked a 911-shekel increase over 2011. The Defense Ministry had the highest average monthly wage, at 20,854 shekels.

Men outearned women across the public sector, the Finance Ministry report showed. The smallest gap was in municipal companies, where women earned 81% as much as their male counterparts. The widest gap was in religious councils, where female employees earned just 66% as much as their male colleagues.

With reporting by Daniel Schmil, Avi Bar-Eli, Tali Heruti-Sover, 
and Ronny Linder-Ganz

Nir Keidar