Don't blame Novopay, baffled teacher told

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2013
steven joyce
STEVEN JOYCE: Minister responsible for Novopay.

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A Wellington teacher almost $8000 out of pocket after months of Novopay stuff-ups is stumped about how to recoup his lost savings.

Scottish-born Douglas Robb moved to New Zealand as the head of faculty for computing at Wainuiomata High School in 2004 and quickly began taking on leadership roles.

In the past year he has been paid for some of his additional management duties but never anywhere near the amount his acting deputy principal contract entitles him to.

A spokesman for Novopay Minister Steven Joyce said the problem was related to Robb's collective agreement, not Novopay.

But Wainuiomata High School principal Martin Isberg, who is dealing with the botch-up, said that at no point this year had he been told it wasn't a Novopay problem.

He said the original intention of Novopay was for schools to be able to manage their own payrolls, but it had never happened.

"It's so hard to get a response out of the system . . . I've been trying to work through it with Novopay but couldn't get any traction, so I asked PPTA to help."

Robb said the extra responsibility and money was a bonus, and was earmarked for his savings account.

"I've got more and more work to do, yet I'm getting no money for it."

"If something disastrous was to happen and I urgently needed my savings, I would be really struggling."

He no longer had any trust or confidence in Novopay.

Part of his job is to sort Novopay issues around relief staff and leave, and he has spent many hours addressing it.

But when it comes to shortcomings over his own pay, he can't get any answers.

"They won't speak to me because you're not allowed to discuss your own pay, so the principal has been trying to sort it for me."

In January it would be a year since Robb started being underpaid for his management duties and, by then, the outstanding bill would be about $10,000.

A spokesman for Joyce said the number of outstanding underpayments being dealt with by the Novopay backlog clearance unit was now "only a few, if any".

As of the end of October, there were 15,149 outstanding overpayments, totalling $13.6 million, and the focus was on recovering those.

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