Wage Report 2009 / Port Workers Win, City Staffers Lose

31% of state employees earned less than the NIS 3,850 monthly minimum wage last year and therefore received supplementary income.

The annual Wage Report published yesterday had few surprises, though two of them were that the Israel Ports Company is the most generous institution in the nation, and wage creep at the Bank of Israel has stopped.

Yuval Steinitz Wage report- Tess Scheflan- Oct. 26, 2010
Tess Scheflan

The average wage in the public sector was NIS 12,382 in gross terms last year. The average wage in the general Israeli workforce was NIS 7,974 last year.

Total wage costs in the public sector, including fringe benefits, were NIS 46.8 billion, according the 2009 Wage Report delivered to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin yesterday by Ilan Levin, the Finance Ministry's wage director.

For purposes of the analysis, the "public sector" refers to employees of institutions receiving state funding, including the health maintenance organizations, that are not themselves part of ministries. The public sector had 243,600 employees in 2009, the report said.

At the institutional level, Israel Ports paid the most. At the individual level, the top earners were doctors and other health-care employees. Of the 30 top wage slots in the public sector, 21 people, or 70%, were doctors and healthcare-related staff. The domination of the top-paying spots by physicians is not new, although in the latest report it increased.

In contrast, teachers, school principals and university lecturers were conspicuous by their absence from the highest-paying state positions, despite the professed priority that the treasury says it has accorded education.

One in three earns less than the minimum wage

One of the report's most surprising information was that 31% of state employees, meaning people working for government ministries or the defense establishment, earned less than the NIS 3,850 monthly minimum wage last year and therefore received supplementary income. The figure also does not include state positions that were outsourced, which on average are filled by people earning even less.

The average monthly gross wage of top management at public institutions, representing about 3% of their employees, was NIS 24,500. The figures range from NIS 12,800 at religious councils to NIS 30,900 at private organizations that receive state funding.

"Top wage earners" at public bodies are defined as people earning more than 90% of the salary made by the director general of the organization. Among these people, who constitute 2.3% of workers in public sector jobs, the average was NIS 37,300 a month.

Among the nearly 95% of workers paid in 2009 according to a set salary scale rather than personal contracts, the average gross monthly wage was NIS 11,600. For comparison, the average wage in the general Israeli workforce was NIS 7,974 last year.

State employees - staff at ministries and the defense establishment - grossed NIS 12,930 a month.

Public-sector employees, such as at the National Insurance Institute, the Israel Broadcasting Authority, universities and so on, grossed an average of NIS 12,382 a month.

In education and welfare, the average wage was NIS 7,623 a month.

IEC workers lag behind

Getting down to specifics, topping the list was the Israel Ports Company, at NIS 25,400. Employees of Haifa Port weren't far behind at NIS 23,000, while the average among Bank of Israel staff was NIS 22,900.

Average wages at the Ashdod Port, NIS 22,500, exceeded the NIS 22,000 earned on average at Israel Securities Authority and at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Staff at the national lottery, Mifal Hapayis, got an average gross salary last year of NIS 21,100, with Israel Electric Corporation employees not far behind at NIS 20,200.

By contrast, the average monthly salary among workers at government ministries was NIS 12,752. At local authorities, it was NIS 8,847, and at religious councils the figure sank to NIS 6,295. The bottom of the salary scale was occupied last year by staff at municipal corporations, who earned NIS 6,077 on average.