Schools left out of pocket to get help

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 15:02 10/01/2013

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Schools having to pay staff because of problems with the embattled Novopay system are to get financial help.

Earlier this week it was revealed nearly 14,000 people had been overpaid or underpaid since the system was introduced.

More than 580 people were paid on behalf of schools they did not work for, 7899 were underpaid or not paid at all, and 6000 were overpaid. Schools had to advance $560,000 to cover the mistakes.

This afternoon, Ministry of Education group manager Rebecca Elvy said schools that had had to make unexpected payments from their bank accounts should contact the ministry.

"We understand some schools are worried this is putting pressure on their bank accounts, and I want to assure them that we are working on this as a real priority and that we will support them while we correct the problems," she said.

Elvy said the ministry was also working with schools as they prepared for the start-of-year process, which must be completed by Monday.

The process involves re-starting staff on the payroll for the beginning of the school year.

"A team is working with principals and school administrators to assist them to complete the start-of-year process," Elvy said.

She thanked school payroll staff for their hard work.

Labour MP Chris Hipkins said the offer of financial support was cold comfort for schools facing an ongoing mess.

"The cost of overpayments made by Novopay is just one of a number of extra expenses these schools are facing.

Just as important are the extra administrative costs created by the shambles, and the Government isn't offering any help with those," he said.

The contact address for concerned schools is Novopay.Enquiries@minedu.govt.nz.

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