Joyce rules out quick cure to Novopay pain

Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013

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The Government is bracing itself for more Novopay pain.

Senior Government Minister Steven Joyce conceded yesterday that next week's pay round could be the most difficult yet.

"There are so many new things happening, including a new teachers' collective agreement for secondary schools. It's going to be pretty challenging, that one . . . and I think it's going to be difficult for everyone involved."

Problems with the Novopay system have seen some school staff go without pay for months.

Schools have had to cover the missing pay cheques themselves.

They have also had to assign people to try to sort out the payroll problems.

Joyce, who has been put in charge of fixing the Novopay debacle, met principals and administrators at schools in Wellington yesterday, including Wellington Girls' College. Principal Julia Davidson would not comment, but Joyce said schools and principals were frustrated and he could understand why.

He was aware there were a number of "significant" bugs in the system, administered by Talent2, but could not confirm suggestions those bugs may be in the hundreds.

He was reluctant to expand on the options being considered by the Government.

Scrapping Talent2's contract is one option, but the Government has suggested that is unlikely.

Joyce reiterated that yesterday.

"But I'm not going to rule out any option and I'm not going to rule in any option at this point. I would say there are no options that don't involve some continued pain for a period of time while this gets sorted."

The Government has promised an inquiry into the problems with Novopay, but secondary school teachers could force its hand by mounting a "no confidence" vote in the payroll system this week.

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- The Dominion Post

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