Compensation possible over Novopay woes

Last updated 09:11 29/11/2012

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Compensation has not been ruled out for schools which are spending unpaid hours sorting out the Novopay system, the Ministry of Education says.

Support staff have been in tears while principals have spent hours of their own time sorting out their staff's pay, said Paul Goulter, national secretary of teachers' union the New Zealand Educational Institute.

NZEI surveyed just over 100 schools and their potential claim for compensation was hundreds of thousands of dollars, Goulter said.

That number was just a drop in the bucket when all of the country's schools were taken into consideration, he said.

"One can assume it will be more than that," he said. "It's like an adding machine.

"It's a hell of a lot. We were initially surprised by it but what the schools are doing doesn't surprise us at all."

Teachers, and particularly principals, were having to spend some class time and their own time working on the pay system, he said.

Ministry of Education group manager Rebecca Elvy told TVNZ that compensation for schools had not been ruled out but it was not currently the ministry's focus.

"We haven't ruled out compensation completely....but we need to focus now on fixing the system."

The ministry has already said it would reimburse schools for additional audit costs related to the new payroll system.

It would not go into detail on the contract it had with Australian company Talent2, which rolled out the system.

Goulter said that while it wasn't fair, he expected taxpayers would end up having to compensate school staff.

An independent review into the pay system would commence early next year.

There have been more than 8000 errors involving teachers being underpaid, overpaid or not at all since it was launched in August.

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