No confidence in Novopay

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:40 06/03/2013

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There is no sign at the coalface that problems with the Novopay pay system for schools would be fixed soon, Marlborough Principals' Association president Andrew McFarlane said yesterday.

He said the extra work pressure and time demands from the Novopay pay system were taking their toll on Marlborough schools, ranging from one new principal not yet having been paid a salary and relief teachers being hugely overpaid holiday pay from last year.

"We still have stuff from October last year that still hasn't been rectified."

Mr McFarlane, principal at Spring Creek School, said the inability of Talent2 and the Ministry of Education to rectify outstanding problems gave schools no confidence in the system or the steps being taken to fix it.

There had been mistakes made in the previous pay system, he said, but they were fixed within 24 hours.

With this new system, he had eight problems still outstanding from last year and the demands on schools and their principals and executive officers to raise them was excessive, he said. It had taken him 25 hours so far this year to deal with issues. That time came away from classroom time as Novopay was available only during school hours.

The Novopay call centre was hard to contact, he said.

It took from 15 minutes to an hour and 25 minutes for phones to be answered.

When they were answered, there was no continuity of staff. It was a new person every time and "you have to start from scratch".

"It's not acceptable."

Mr McFarlane said he was distressed that industrial action was being talked about in response to the Novopay problems.

"That does no favours, it doesn't provide a solution to the problem. It needs fixing and fixing quick."

The move to electronic-based pay systems made sense, he said, but the Novopay system came at the cost of time spent in front of children.

"It takes my time as a teaching principal away from my core responsibilities which is teaching and children's learning. Something's wrong."

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- The Marlborough Express

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