Pay round a 'shambles'

Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013

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The latest school pay round is Novopay's worst yet, a Lower Hutt principal says.

Sacred Heart College principal Lisl Prendergast said yesterday her staff were frantically busy trying to correct new payroll glitches in time.

Told they had until the end of yesterday to report back on any problems that needed fixing before payday on Wednesday, staff were settling in to work until about 8pm.

"It is a complete shambles. Far worse than ever - it's a shocker."

By 3.30pm, staff had already found 10 problems - and that was only for the management team.

They were prepared for far more among the teaching and support staff. It would take a long time to go through the report to discover new glitches, she said.

Advance warning that the pay round would be bad from "fix-it man" Steven Joyce did not make it OK, she said. "What really annoys me is the amount of work that's had to happen.

"And it's completely bizarre in that none of it makes sense."

14,470 TEACHERS OWED ABOUT $11.8M IN WAGES 

The much-maligned Novopay system now owes almost $12 million to teachers who have not been paid.

The figures comes from the monthly Novopay debt ledger, released under the Official Information Act.

As of January 6, 14,470 teachers were owed about $11.8m in wages.

The Ministry of Education has been forced to pay almost $2.5m in manual payments, made when the Novopay system fails to pay teachers and their school requests a manual payment. Schools have paid almost $700,000 manual payments to their staff to compensate for Novopay.

However, 532 teachers have been overpaid by more than $600,000.

Of that amount, about $336,000 has not been paid back to Novopay.

The $29m system has been plagued with problems since it was launched last August.

It was revealed this week that bulk payments, to make up for weeks of not being paid, were pushing teachers into new tax brackets, leaving them out of pocket and unable to recoup money until filing a tax return at the end of the financial year.

Child-support payments were not reaching some recipients.

Payments were not being made to the ACC, superannuation funds, KiwiSaver and student loans, despite being taken out of wages and listed on payslips.

Teachers were losing thousands from being struck down the 12-step pay grade by a system "fix" and have to go to great lengths to prove their identity to have their pay readjusted.

Ministry group manager for education workforce Rebecca Elvy said this week that "initial problems involving payments to third parties such as the IRD had now been resolved.

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"The ministry has assured schools that all payments have been processed. No-one will have been financially disadvantaged."

- The Dominion Post

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