Novopay mire costs every school

08:49, Feb 14 2013
Southland Times photo
Willowbank School principal Lisa Parish is fed up with Novopay issues.

Willowbank School principal Lisa Parish has had enough of the Novopay pay roll shambles that continues to frustrate education workers nationally.

Mrs Parish's tiny school, with a staff of one fulltime and three part-time employees, has felt the brunt of the system's defects since August.

"Because I'm a sole-charge principal, I have the same paperwork as any other principal, as well as teaching, and I get one day a week in the office and half of it is taken up to chase Novopay," she said.

Southland Times photo
Willowbank School principal Lisa Parish is fed up with Novopay issues.

"The job is big enough already."

Small things like staff getting sent their pay slips, which used to happen automatically under the old system, are an added stress that is completely unnecessary," she said.

"I want to know that the people are getting paid what they deserve to be paid. I can't [currently] guarantee that my staff are getting paid what they should be.


"That's what I really struggle with."

The results of an online survey conducted by the New Zealand Principals' Federation last week showed that 98 per cent of principals have no confidence that Novopay will deliver an efficient payroll within the next 12 months.

Waikaka School principal Bronwyn McCall echoes Mrs Parish's thoughts and the survey findings.

Novopay issues have been getting worse at her school, leaving it out-of-pocket by almost 10 per cent of its annual budget as the school scrambles to reimburse underpaid staff. Former staff members, who had not been employed by the school for two years, mysteriously got paid holiday pay at Christmas time.

"Up until December we had not had any any problems," McCall said.

"Since, I have spent about two to three hours extra each pay run sorting it out.

"Every one of my staff has been affected."

Gore and Districts Principals' Association president Antony Criglington said he was fairly confident every school in the district had been affected by Novopay issues.

But there had been no formal meeting of principals in Eastern Southland, with schools tending to work in isolation on individual issues, he said.

Schools are doing the work they need to do at their end to get their employees paid properly he said.

"We run around trying to correct errors, which we should not have to do."

Criglington also knows the Novopay mess is also affecting all taxpayers after the principals' federation survey showed that the problems have cost schools at least $8 million in unpaid overtime and interest.

"It's not just my money they are messing around. It's yours as well. Millions [have been] spent to resolve it out of taxpayer money," Criglington said.

More than 1000 out of 2242 schools which are members of the federation responded to the latest online survey.