Payslips slip-up privacy breach, says teacher

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 18/10/2012
Bud Obst
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ

MANY A SLIP: Bud Obst shows the payslips he was accidentally emailed by the Education Ministry.

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A Christchurch man has accused the Education Ministry of jeopardising the privacy of a Nelson relief teacher after he was accidentally emailed four payslips meant for the teacher.

The incident is among several errors that seem to have been caused by the ministry's much-maligned new Novopay system.

A Christchurch school support worker has not been paid in eight weeks and a Mairehau Primary School teacher was significantly overpaid yesterday on only the fourth occasion when teachers have been paid through the new system.

During the past two months, Diamond Harbour man Bud Obst was sent four payslips meant for the Nelson teacher.

Obst found an unsecured payslip in his email inbox on August 8 for work between July 25 and August 7, sent to him by moepayslip@payroll-serv.co.nz, the ministry's former payroll provider, Multiserve.

It contained information such as the teacher's tax and bank account numbers.

On the next payday, August 22, Obst was sent a secured payslip from support@novopay.govt.nz that could not be opened without a password.

He continued to receive secured payslips until September 19. He tried to contact the teacher, but was unsuccessful.

Obst was not the only one to be sent sensitive information.

Mairehau Primary administrator Heather Allott said one of the school's teachers was sent a payslip last month belonging to a teacher they had never heard of. It was secured with a password.

Obst was worried about receiving the information.

"If I'm getting these, the owner probably isn't. This is a privacy issue," he said.

A Christchurch school support worker, who did not want to be named, has not been paid in eight weeks.

She said she was "disgusted with the attitude of Novopay staff" when she called the helpline.

"I did manage to speak to a supervisor but was told that as I was not a pay clerk I was therefore not an approved provider and they would not discuss my pay issue with me," she said.

"Since Novopay took over I have not seen a single cent. I have no idea what I am supposed to do."

Allott said she now spent at least 12 hours a week trying to resolve Novopay issues, with little success.

Schools are sent draft payslips four working days before the fortnightly payday.

Allott said she noticed five errors in pay last week, only one of which had been resolved by yesterday.

"I waited 90 minutes on the phone to Novopay one day. There is no confidence in the system," she said.

A ministry spokesman said 10 staff across the country were not paid yesterday, while 87,119 had.

This was "fewer than previous rounds because there were thousands fewer time sheets submitted because of the school holidays," he said.

"We will ensure no-one is left financially disadvantaged. We are working hard to get those people paid as soon as possible."

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