No presents after month with no pay Novopay

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Debbie Cuthbert
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ
RUNNING ON EMPTY: Debbie Cuthbert, of Temuka, has not been paid for a month because of problems with Novopay.

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All Temuka woman Debbie Cuthbert wants is to buy presents for her family this Christmas.

But the Opihi College support staff member is cash-strapped, having not been paid for over a month because of the problem-plagued Novopay system.

The $100 million payroll system was rolled out by the Education Ministry in August.

A truancy officer at the college, Mrs Cuthbert said she had not been paid in the past two pay cycles, which are fortnightly.

It is the first time in the eight years she had held the role that there had been problems.

She said Novopay had been an "absolute botch-up".

Another frustration was support staff did not have authority to call Novopay, and relied on the principal to resolve the issues.

"So I'm depending on [principal Mike Wright]. Mike's been brilliant. He's spent hours on the phone on hold.

"I shouldn't be making someone else find out where my pay is."

The payslips produced by Novopay were "bizarre", she said.

Her last one, a month ago, showed she had no pay owing and she was in debt to Novopay.

"I'm $2500 in debt to them apparently."

She had had a "couple of days" sick, which she believes may have triggered the botch-up.

"Lots of people have had similar things [happen]."

The ministry had been slow to fix problems. "It's just hideous they've let this go on. It's not on that you have to go through this, and they've just let it snowball."

"I just want to buy my kids Christmas presents . . . [but] bills come first."

Education Minister Hekia Parata told Fairfax that Novopay was implemented after "extensive testing and quality assurance".

"I am confident that Novopay was ready to implement, and confident that fine-tuning will resolve many of the issues that schools are raising."

But NZEI national president Ian Leckie said Novopay was not improving. "We don't believe this is something that can be sorted this side of Christmas."

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- The Timaru Herald

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