Novopay plays Christmas grinch at schools

Last updated 13:00 13/12/2012

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Novopay has failed again, giving schools a pre-Christmas headache as they try to sort out staff pay problems.

At Nelson College, all its support staff had problems with their end of year pay, said its finance manager Brett Mochan.

At Waimea College, resource manager Diane Chapman is trying to sort a number of errors in this week's pay, mostly a mix of overpayments.

They are among schools around the country experiencing pay problems despite assurances the payroll system would be fixed.

Mr Mochan said at Nelson College pay errors ranged from several hundred dollars under or overpaid, to several thousand dollars under or overpaid.

"By the end of this week we will know if the board of trustees of the college will again be required to make cash advances available to affected staff to see them through the Christmas-new year period," he said.

"The additional workload in advising and monitoring errors is huge and at this time of the year other duties of the finance office soon fall into arrears - particularly as December is the last month of the financial year for schools."

At Waimea College, Mrs Chapman is working her way through a 45-page payroll report to check whether staff have been paid correctly.

Errors were showing up, for example, where there were 20 to 30 lines of pay information for a staff member where there should only be three or four, she said.

"From my point of view I'm disappointed," Mrs Chapman said.

More support staff than teachers were affected by the errors, she said.

Staff were now on holiday and would find out whether they had been correctly paid by checking their bank account and pay slip.

Mrs Chapman hoped to get any problems sorted by next Friday when she would start her leave. "It's going to be challenging."

An email was sent to all schools yesterday to confirm all 92,000 staff had been paid in the end-of-year pay cycle. But new problems had been found, and about 5000 non-teaching staff would get their holiday pay a day late, it said.

Ministry of Education chief information officer Leanne Gibson said the ministry and contractor Talent2 were working hard to ensure holiday payments went through as smoothly as possible, but regretted the delay in holiday payment for some staff.

Fortnightly pay for permanent teaching staff that would have fallen during Christmas week has been brought forward to December 21.

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