Pay woes worry school

Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012
Mike Stanghan and Marion Skelton

PAY WORRIES: Howick College business manager Mike Stanghan and accounts manager Marion Skelton have concerns over the end-of-year pay cycle and the deduction from wages for superannuation, student loans and KiwiSaver.

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Fingers crossed, let's hope it works.

That's the message one school feels Novopay is sending about the end-of-year pay cycle.

Howick College business manager Mike Stanghan says the school has put a safety net in place to help staff who may be incorrectly paid.

"Myself and the account manager have an email address that we will monitor and if anybody is short-paid we will arrange a payment for them."

Mr Stanghan says the school has put an additional 30 hours in to the end-of-year pay but even still the message they are receiving from Novopay is "fingers crossed, le'ts hope it works".

He says the school is prepared because simply "we know what is coming".

And the outlook for the end-of-year pay cycle is foreboding.

The school has become aware of a major issue in deductions from staff wages.

"One of the big issues that is sitting in the background is that payroll deductions for superannuation, student loans or KiwiSaver - all of that money is being sent away to the various offices but they are not sending through the deduction schedules."

He says without the breakdown of deductions companies have no idea what to do with the money coming in and this causes delays.

"It is the same with student loans and that sort of thing - people are getting letters saying that the debt collectors are coming because they haven't paid this when it has been paid.

"But the money hasn't been applied to their account because the company doesn't know what to do with it because Novopay hasn't told them what to do with it."

Howick College has both a business and an account manager putting in hours on Novopay issues. But for smaller schools this additional workload has created problems.

Wakaaranga School principal Brent Jenkin says it is the schools that are having to pay the consequences of the Talent2 contract.

"I am paying an extra person for three afternoons per week to do my executive officer's job because she is now a Novopay payroll officer," he says.

‘The core question everybody should be asking is why are schools doing a $30 million contract for nothing for the Government. We aren't being paid to do this."

He says the Government's rationale for introducing Novopay as a transparent process is simply a myth and if schools are being made to do this extra work then they should be resourced for it.

"When were we asked to do the Government's payroll? Never, not once. There is nothing in the operations grant for this."

Wakaaranga executive officer Wendy West has tackled the brunt of the school's Novopay issues. She says since the switch to Novopay she would have put in at least 200 hours and contributing to that workload were the problems from the Christmas pay cycle.

"End-of-year pay was difficult because I put it in twice and it just disappeared into the Novopay hole and on the third time it was accepted and processed."

Now she has moved on to her start-of-year pay and has experienced even more problems.

"I went into allowances and got software errors, I had four staff missing off my payroll; so the guy at Novopay said ‘just put it in a manual form'."

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This means Mrs West is going back to the way it was done before Novopay. And she says because of that "start of year is going to be more manageable".

- © Fairfax NZ News

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