Fresh Novopay pain with latest pay cycle

Manawatu principals returning to school for the beginning of term one are experiencing fresh "Novopain", having found no-one is immune to electronic payroll system Novopay's glitches - including themselves.

Schools around the region are being forced to pay teachers’ wages out of their own board of trustees’ accounts while they wait for Novopay to reimburse them.

Freyberg High School principal Peter Brooks was among staff underpaid in the latest Novopay cycle, in which he found 52 errors for just one pay cycle in what he labelled the ‘‘worst’’ mishap yet.

Lytton St School principal Geoff Lovegrove said some of the school’s fulltime permanent staff were now noticing random deductions being made from their pay. Those sorts of problems had more typically been restricted to support staff such as relief teachers in the past. 

One teacher was missing five days’ pay in the latest cycle, he said.

‘‘Schools are totally sick of the position they have been placed in by this disastrous payroll problem. We’ve run out of goodwill, and we want staff to be paid, properly, accurately and on time.

 ‘‘We are having our worst fortnight with Novopay, and I’m noticing that some school secretaries and office people are moving from ‘it’s just a joke’ through the levels of frustration to real anger.’’

It was revealed this week that the Ministry of Education had been advised it could take up to two years to ‘‘fix’’ Novopay.

Ross Intermediate principal Wayne Codyre found 11 errors in this week’s pay cycle, but after spending three hours on hold to a Novopay helpline had decided his school payroll staff should not be working Waitangi Day to remedy the issue.

‘‘The whole thing is beyond a joke and I feel Hekia Parata should resign as [education] minister and anyone associated with signing the final approval for Novopay should resign,’’ he said.

‘‘They have cost the taxpayers millions in extra costs and cost thousands of New Zealanders stress and anguish.’’

The Ministry of Education had staff available yesterday to provide urgent assistance to any staff who had not been paid correctly.

Arrangements were also made with the big banks for the ministry to contact them and authorise payments.

Ministry group manager Rebecca Elvy acknowledged schools’ frustration.

‘‘While this isa challenging time, we are expecting more issues this year because of the new Novopay system,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve been working hard with [Novopay provider] Talent2 to address problems schools have alerted us to with this payroll, but that won’t have picked up every issue.’’

Manawatu Standard