Did you ever receive a monthly pay supplement just for coming to work on time? That's just one of the strange ways that public sector employees get extra pay in Israel.

The top 5 most ridiculous payroll supplements are at the bottom.

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This article is a guest post by Moshe Egel-Tal, CSPP of Israpay.com. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

Only in Israel: A payroll supplement for not leaving too early

The Israeli Social Security (ISS or Bituach Leumi) went on strike in Jan 2006. Try to guess why. Multiple layoffs? Nope. Organizational restructuring? Not even close.

The ISS employees were angry because the Israeli Finance Ministry wanted to cancel a privilege they had been receiving for years- a payroll supplement for anyone who wasn't late more than 10 minutes in the morning or who left less than 9 minutes early in the evening. In other words, extra pay just for putting in full days of work.

Why do these crazy supplements even exist?

The problem lies within the public sector, as all these supplements are paid from the taxpayer's pockets. The rationale is shaky because employees are already doing what they were hired to do and nothing more. But since their base pay is so low, the Israeli government and the Histadrut Labor Union sign work agreements with these “creative” ways to achieve pay raises without calling them that.

Strangest payroll supplements anywhere?

Not only in the ISS do employees enjoy such unusual pay supplements. The public sector has invoked many weird supplements over the years and most are still paid today. Here are some of the most bizarre and yes, these are all real supplements:

25) Health supplement

The Bank of Israel pays out accrued and unused sick day balances when an employee leaves its employ. In other words, if you didn't use your right to be sick, you get a health supplement. In many cases, this is a huge amount of tens of thousands of shekels.

24) Cold Supplement

This is paid to employees who need to constantly access freezers at extreme temperatures.

23) Hot Supplement

Paid to those who need to constantly access ovens and high temperatures.

22) Rig supplement

Paid to employees who use heavy engineering equipment such as steamrollers, dump trucks over 3 tons, bulldozers, etc.

21) High Altitude supplement

Paid to employees who work in places high above the ground, like bridges, traffic lights, etc.

20) Dust supplement

Earned by employees who have dusty work environments.

19) Hard Cut supplement

Paid in the diamond industry for rocks that are harder to process.

18) Territories supplement

Paid to employees who work over the Green Line (i.e. in Judea & Samaria), it has nothing to do with danger.

17) Arava and Negev supplements

Paid to employees who work in these remote areas in the south of Israel.

16) Sodom supplement

Despite the connotations, this is paid to employees who work in the Sodom region near the Dead Sea.

15) Shifting supplement

When the Israeli Ports Authority was privatized, making each port a separate entity, all employees received this one-time 50,000 shekel payout for the “shift” out of the public sector.

14) Clothing supplement

Paid once a year in the public sector to all employees whether they need special uniforms or not.

13) Appearances supplement

Attorneys in the attorney general's office receive a 20% supplement of their base salary supplement just for coming to court.

12) Split time supplement

Bank employees receive a supplement for working split hours. You wonder why they don't just work a whole day of open hours to the public instead, like normal employees.

11) Garbage supplement

Paid to employees who work with garbage.

10) Nook and Cranny supplement

Paid to employees who need to access nooks and crannies.

9) Stink supplement

Paid to employees who work in smelly locations, like sewer employees.

8) Physical supplement

Paid to employees who specialize in manual labor e.g. blue collar workers.

7) Enhancement supplement

Could also be called the “RIF supplement”, it's paid to employees who take on additional tasks following office cutbacks, resignations and retirements.

6) Parliament supplement

All Members of Knesset get this one, just for having their job, in addition to their 20,000 shekels of base pay.

Saving the best for last…

The Top 5 ridiculous ways employees get paid in Israel

5) No Absence supplement

Paid to employees who were not absent from work for any reason during the month. Isn't this what they're supposed to do anyway?

4) Parking Lot Distance supplement

If the office parking lot wasn't big enough for everyone, some employees would be forced to park their cars further away. This supplement was created as compensation for the extra effort.

3) Over-exertion supplement

For those employees who over-exert themselves. In 31 years in Israel I have yet to meet one.

2) Jubilee supplement

A one-time supplement equal to 60% of the base pay paid to employees with 25 years of service in the public sector. It sure does pay to stick around for a while.

1) Insult supplement

Paid to employees of the Tax Authority and Customs Authority who are frequently insulted by offended taxpayers or importers.

Bonus pay supplement

14th salary

There are a few places, mostly in the public sector, that pay a 13th month of salary each year. It's usually broken into 2 payments with half paid before Passover and the other half before Rosh Hashana (which makes chagim easier), but the Israel Electric Company's employees, who already have the highest average pay in Israel, are paid a *14th* salary as well.

If you liked this article, you'll also enjoy The Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Job in Israel.

About the author

Moshe Egel-Tal, CSPP

Moshe Egel-Tal offers paid consultation services on payroll and labor issues to both employees and employers, and mini-seminars on various payroll related topics. Moshe can be reached at moshe [dot] israpay [at] gmail [dot] com and you can follow him on Twitter at @israpay. Check out the latest Q & A, articles and more at Israpay.com. Get Moshe's book “Tax Benefits for Salaried Employees in Israel“.

Looking for higher pay? Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more creative ways to increase your Israeli salary.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Hillel

    Great article Moshe!

  2. Shaun

    The rationale that it’s preferable for the goverment to provide these supplements rather than to raise salaries derives from the fact that the funds the government is required to deposit into the employee’s pension fund is based only on the salary, and not on these supplements.

  3. Jacob Share

    Good point, Shaun. These supplements make life easier for the employer, and while they’re better than nothing, employees are still being shortchanged. Short-term AND long-term, as you point out.

  4. Moshe

    Shaun, that is true. however, as a taxpayer you want public funds to be used with more caution and without riddiculous criteria that doesn’t exist in the private/ business sector.
    You have to remember also, that the public sector is the least productive and as such should be the bare minimum number of employees. There are many functions that are unnecesary and wouldn’t be missed if they were terminated. the budget could be trimmed, the costs and taxes could be lowered and those that remained would be able to receive normal salaries but they would have to work.

  5. Sarah

    5) No Absence supplement

    Paid to employees who were not absent from work for any reason during the month. Isn’t this what they’re supposed to do anyway?

    Do employers have to pay this supplement or is it optional?

  6. Kate

    How is it that I have been working at so many jobs for so long and NEVER come across a supplement?

  7. Moshe

    Sarah (comment 12) – Yes, that’s what they’re supposed to do, that’s the whole point ! See public sector is about coming to work. Actually working ? that’s another issue altogether.
    It is only in public sector – i.e. government, municipalities, etc

    Kate (comment 14) – you probably don’t work in the public sector or in Hi-tech.

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