Novopay costs continue to mount

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 16:49 13/03/2014

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The Government has spent $33 million trying to sort out the troubled Novopay education payroll system and expects to spend a further $10m by June, Novopay Minister Steven Joyce has revealed.

New Zealand Educational Institute spokesman Andrew Casidy said the amount was staggering given the system remained "a lemon".

Joyce said "robust discussions" were continuing between the Ministry of Education and Novopay's developer, Australian software firm Talent2, about who would ultimately pick up the tab for the costs, but there had been "fault on both sides".

The next priority was making changes to Novopay's call centre to make it simpler for schools to have issues addressed, he said.

"The way the service centre operates has caused a lot of frustration for school administrators and staff."

Over the next six months payslips and pay reports would be made "more readable" and work would get under way to reduce the complexity of teachers' pay.

Joyce has blamed the complexity for problems introducing both Novopay and a preceding system built by New Zealand firm Datacom.

"We have a very complex pay system that has now caused problems for the introduction of not one but two new pay systems over the last 10 years," he said.

Casidy said long-suffering school staff would be "infuriated" such changes were being considered before the immediate problems with Novopay had been fixed. That was "trying to paint the front of the house while the back of the house was on fire".

"Staff continue to be underpaid, overpaid and unpaid and frustrated at the hours being spent fixing their problems," Casidy said.

"Just this week, NZEI's random phone survey of 30 schools found more than 80 per cent of schools having major problems with Novopay."

That frustration and lack of trust was now at "dangerous levels", he said.

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- Fairfax Media

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