Novopay problems 'seem to be easing'

Last updated 05:00 18/01/2014

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Southern principals are quietly confident that Novopay problems during the difficult back-to-school period will not be repeated on the same scale as last year.

The beleaguered pay system has left schools and teachers out of pocket since it was introduced in 2012, but Southland principals believe the service has improved in the past year.

Last year's summer pay periods were plagued with problems, as the system struggled with holiday pay and changing staff lists at schools.

Southland Primary Principals' Association president Ben Witheford said the number of Novopay problems in the region seemed to be easing, even through the difficult festive season.

"From what I hear anecdotally around the troops, the end of year process seemed to go smoothly for most people."

Systemic changes made during the past 12 months had helped remedy some of these issues, and this year, the start-of-year process was able to be completed online, saving principals time, Mr Witheford said.

However, there was still a long way to go.

"The whole Novopay system is far from fit for purpose. There's still a number of outstanding niggling issues and there's some significant issues with annual leave and sick leave balances which are still to be resolved."

Despite this, Mr Witheford was optimistic Southland schools would get through the start-of-year rollover with relatively few problems.

High schools throughout the region have also reported few issues in the lead up to the new school year.

Fiordland College had not experienced any problems during the holiday period, while Menzies College executive officer Judy Gould said she had found the Ministry of Education Novopay staff "very helpful" to deal with.

She anticipated the start-of-year pay process would go through smoothly for the school, she said.

Last month, the minister responsible for Novopay, Steven Joyce, said the start-of-year pay periods would be a "big challenge", but significant effort and resources had been put into improving the system.

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- The Southland Times

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