Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Adar II 5765 - March 23, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Fat Salaries at Universities and Other Public Service Organizations

By G. Kleiman

Despite the difficult financial crisis at the universities, the majority of employees and administrators still receive enormous salaries according to recent reports in the mainstream press. MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni told a Yated Ne'eman reporter early this week that he intends to table a motion in the Knesset to place the issue on the agenda.

Two weeks ago the universities reported their respective income from tuition as well as government and private grants, but did not publish their total expenses. Economists expressed surprise over the omission, wondering whether the universities are trying to conceal figures related to employee salaries.

Against a backdrop of student demonstrations against the government for allegedly not supporting the universities sufficiently, the salary figures are of particular interest. They help explain the large deficits and financial crisis at the universities despite the massive inflow of government funds and hefty contributions from abroad.

According to press reports ranking university administrators earn NIS 40,000-60,000 ($9,000-$14,000) per month and average university salaries are double the national average. The Salary Report for Public Bodies for the 2003 fiscal year shows that many ranking university officials earn over NIS 65,000 ($15,000) per month. Hundreds of employees earn NIS 35,000-40,000 per month and even rank-and-file employees receive extremely high salaries. (For the sake of comparison the salary for directors of government ministries is currently NIS 28,000 per month and the salary for ministers is NIS 33,000 per month.) Furthermore university salaries rose by NIS 700 per month at a time when salaries in the public sector decreased drastically and Bituach Leumi slashed allowances for large families and the handicapped.

The following is a list of examples: One Hebrew University administrator receives over NIS 68,000 per month. The vice president of Haifa University receives over NIS 67,000 per month. The president of the Technion in Haifa receives over NIS 52,000 per month. The rector of Hebrew University receives over NIS 50,000 per month. The president of the Weizman Institute receives over NIS 48,000 per month. The president of Haifa University receives over NIS 48,0000 per month. The vice president of Ben Gurion University receives over NIS 46,000 per month. The vice president of Bar Ilan University receives over NIS 45,000 per month. At Hebrew University 168 employees are paid approximately NIS 36,000 per month. At the Technion 56 employees earn over NIS 34,000. At the Weizman Institute 88 employees receive over NIS 33,000 per month.

Other examples: The director of the Ben Gurion University Library gets paid over NIS 27,000 per month. The spokeswoman for Tel Aviv University receives over NIS 34,000 per month. Technicians at the Weizman Institute earn over NIS 36,000 per month.

Thus it comes as little surprise the 5764 figures showed a deficit of NIS 120 million at the Technion, NIS 75 million at Tel Aviv University, NIS 15 million at the Weizman Institute and NIS 10 million at Haifa University.

Millions also go to pay for sabbatical year leaves abroad, when in many cases the same studies could have been written in Israel. Many employees also receive additional extensive benefits not listed as part of their salaries, such as vehicle expenses, pension plans and generous expense accounts.

Report Released

The full report was released Monday by Finance Ministry Salary Commissioner Yuval Rachlevsky and it contains 2003's salary figures for 56,970 workers at government offices and state-run hospitals as well as 84,871 instructors. The information leaked to the press earlier has proved accurate.

Irregularities were found at 93 of the 663 organizations that submitted reports in 2002-03. The average gross salary came to NIS 21,886 and salaries among full-time, tenured employees averaged NIS 10,261. There are a total of 430,000 state employees.

The report also revealed enormous salaries in the public sector in the health insurance funds, Hebrew University and Haifa University—salaries ranging from NIS 65,000-90,000 per month. Other exorbitant salaries were doled out Bezeq, the Oil Refineries, the Electric Company, the Ports Authority, General Health Services, the Bank of Israel, the Broadcasting Authority, government ministries, hospitals and the Defense Ministry. Many of these salaries were not irregular according to regulations, but were nonetheless high. Teachers' salaries ranged from NIS 3,930 to NIS 9,106 per month.

According to the Forum for the Enforcement of Workers' Rights, Rachlevsky is long overdue in releasing a report on low-end wages in the public sector. "It seems that the Finance Ministry is trying to avoid publishing other figures according to which one in every five government workers earns less than minimum wage and is in need of income supplements," said a Forum spokesman. "In the name of growth Netanyahu's economic policy is transforming work into a cheap commodity and creating tens of thousands of poor workers who work under disgraceful conditions, and a large portion of them work in the public sector. The Forum calls for the publication of the low wages report in the public sector in order to provide the public a picture of the true situation in the economy."

Rachlevsky is calling on the Knesset to pass a law that would set a maximum wage level in the public sector. Rachlevsky said the salary of an employee in a public organization should not exceed the salary of the director or chairman of that organization. He says the maximal gross salary level should be set at NIS 30,000 ($7,000) per month, the salary earned by the directors-general of government ministries. He also recommended capping salaries at government companies and statutory corporations at NIS 41,000 ($9,500) per month and salaries of judges, university presidents and hospital directors at NIS 55,000 ($12,800) per month.

Over six years, over 2,000 decisions have been issued leading to reductions in salaries and compensation for workers and pensioners at government-supported organizations, saving the public a total of NIS 500 million.

Adi Eldar, chairman of the Center for Local Government, said in response to the report he welcomes the ongoing trend of reducing the number of salary irregularities at local authorities, which would help them escape the crisis they currently face.


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