A member of the Knesset makes 3.7 times more than the average national full-time wage in Israel - a higher salary than the average of members of parliament in 11 countries around the world, according to new findings by the Knesset Research and Information Center.
The findings were released ahead of a meeting by the Knesset House Committee to discuss a recommendation by the Knesset Public Committee to link MKs’ salaries to the cost of living index rather than the average national wage.
The study also found that the base salary of an MK stands at NIS 38,887 ($10,773) per month, which is higher than the average salary for parliamentarians in other countries, which stands at $10,140 per month.
According to the findings, Israeli members of parliament make the sixth highest salary overall, with Australia in first place with $15,697, followed by the US ($14,000), Canada ($13,247), Norway ($12,271), and Germany ($10,947).
Israeli MKs earn more, however, than their counterparts in Belgium ($9,523), Britain ($8,736), France ($7,322), Switzerland ($6,257), and Spain ($3,736).
The study by the Knesset Research and Information Center was conducted at the request of chairman of the House Committee, Likud MK Yariv Levin.
The Public Committee, headed by Prof. Haim Levi, the former head of the School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University, found that the comparison of the MKs’ wage to the average wage in Israel is the most relevant measure to examine their wages compared to other models.
In the past 20 years, the average national wage in Israel has indeed risen 43 percent, but given that most salaries are linked to the cost of living index, the majority of Israeli workers have only seen an average increase of 7% in the those two decades.
The study by the Knesset Research and Information Center also found that the difference between the wages of parliamentarians and the average citizen put Israel at the top of a list of countries whose parliament members make more than their respective country’s national average wage.
In second place comes the US, whose government representatives make three times more than the average citizen, followed by Germany (2.8), Canada (2.7), Australia (2.5), Britain (2.1), Belgium (2), France (1.9), Spain (1.3), and even Switzerland (0.8).
The recommendation by the Public Committee to link MKs' wages to the cost of living index would be set in motion in January 2015, following approval by the House Committee.
MKs say they are opposed to the change so long as members of other senior government institutions (the president and court judges) still have wages linked to the national average wage. The wages of the prime minister and other ministers, which is determined by the Finance Committee, are linked to the cost of living index.
The Finance Committee seeks to end the discrepancy by aligning all government wages to the cost of living index.
The wages of government executives are updated once a year, but MK Levin says he will not debate the request by the Public Committee until the Finance Committee links the salaries of the president and court judges to the cost of living index as well. The president and judges, meanwhile, are expected to strongly oppose such a change.
The public commission has recommended that the change to linking the wages to the cost of living index should be done gradually.
Furthermore, the commission suggested the change in MK wages would be temporary and would only be enacted until the average wage of MKs is 3.05 times higher than the average national wage, similar to the average wage of government representatives in the US and France compared to their respective national average wage.
After this goal would be achieved, the public commission would convene and decide whether to continue linking government wages to the cost of living index or return to linking them to the national average wage.
The Knesset Research and Information Center also compared MKs’ wages to the full income of their counterparts in other countries, with some countries allowing their government representatives to work in another occupation simultaneously. In Israel, MKs were allowed to hold additional positions outside of their government work until 1996.