Novopay may be slowly improving, but school principals are still thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Waikanae School principal Bevan Campbell said an extra 10 hours a week minimum was spent on Novopay, and the school was paying the price for it.
Novopay Minister Steven Joyce announced on Monday that 10 out of the past 11 pay rounds had fallen within the 0.5 per cent ''steady state error level''. This reflected the progress made since the debacle that followed the payroll system going live a year ago.
But Mr Campbell said that, before the introduction of Novopay, it took one staff member two hours a week to input data. ''We'd now be spending 12 to 13 hours a week on it, and that's with it working smoother than it was.''
Updating data was still slow work, as reflected by the fact that a teacher who resigned at the start of the term was still being paid three weeks later, despite the paperwork being completed early, he said.
In March, Mr Campbell told The Dominion Post the school was having to pay interest on about $30,000 of debt it had accumulated through Novopay overpayments. The following day the Ministry of Education contacted him to say it would advance his final quarterly grant, which would normally be paid in October.
''After multiple emails and phone calls, I got the money 17 weeks later and now have nine weeks until the advance ends and I'm out of pocket by $30,000 again,'' he said.
The school had retrieved some of the money from staff, but it was a case of waiting for debt collectors to settle the rest. He doubted he would ever get all the money back, because of the multiple parties from whom it needed to be collected.
The extra hours spent on Novopay would continue to cost the school an extra $9000 a year and other areas suffer as a result.
Frimley School in Hastings is also feeling the effects of an increased workload and estimates more than $100 a week in additional wages is spent sorting out Novopay issues.
''That's about five or six hours' worth of teacher aide time in a classroom helping children with special needs,'' principal Malcolm Dixon said.
The school had to employ an extra part-time staff member to cover library services that were being neglected because of time spent sorting out the payroll.
''The $6000 payout we got back from Government covered that cost, but we are going to have to continue to pay it because the workload from Novopay hasn't decreased.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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