School staff boycott Novopay helpline

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014

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Some Southland school staff are boycotting the Novopay telephone helpline, fed up with the long wait times they are enduring, the PPTA says.

Novopay queries and concerns are normally dealt with through the Ministry of Education's Novopay Service Centre. In the past, schools have reported long wait times to get through to the centre, although these have been improving.

However, Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) Southland regional chairman Terry McNamara said schools, still recording new problems with the pay system, were again struggling to get through to the service centre.

"We'd try to contact them, often we can't get a reply. [We are] on hold for hours."

Staff were now finding other ways to solve problems to avoid calling the help line, he said.

McNamara knew of school staff using "other entry points" to get help - for example, asking the PPTA for help to get their problems sorted instead of going straight to the service centre - because they found it faster, he said.

Cathy Magiannis, Education Payroll Service Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Education, said the ministry was aware of concerns about the Novopay Service Centre and changes to the operating model were a priority this year.

To safeguard the privacy of individual staff members, only Novopay authorised users were able to contact the centre. Authorised users were school payroll administrators and school principals.

When individual staff members contacted the centre, the staff member was encouraged to speak to their Novopay authorised user, she said.

Magiannis said the ministry had always encouraged people to contact them directly, using the ministry phone line, the resourcing email address and union representatives if they could not get answers to their questions through their school payroll administrator.

About 90,000 staff at more than 2000 schools are paid through Novopay every fortnight.

The Government has now pledged $43 million to remedy Novopay problems, which have been frequent since the payroll system was introduced in 2012.

 

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