Novopay takeover surprises principals

Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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The Government's move to take over the beleaguered Novopay payroll system has taken some Taranaki principals by surprise.

On Wednesday, the minister in charge of Novopay, Steven Joyce, announced the Government would take over management of the system from provider Talent2 in October.

The decision comes after widespread criticism of, and ongoing issues with, the payroll system since its introduction in 2012.

Waitara Central School principal Sharren Read said she was surprised when she heard the news about the transfer.

She said although matters had improved for her staff, there had been a spike in pay problems during the latest school holiday and errors still happened regularly.

"We have never had a pay period since with no errors since it was introduced," Read said.

The main impact was felt by her office administrator who still spent a lot of time double checking paperwork and figures.

Read said it was unclear how effective the change - due to come into effect on October 17 - would be.

"One part of me went, ‘yay no more Talent2', but there are no guarantees that what's going to happen is going to fix it either," Read said.

She said one of the main benefits of the Government being involved was the additional resource it had to tackle the issues. Another principal taken aback by Joyce's announcement was Ramanui School principal Liz Harrison.

Although she welcomed the change, she questioned the timing and hoped a relatively smooth transition would take place.

Harrison said although pay problems at her Hawera school were not as bad as in others, the unresolved situation still left her and her staff frustrated.

"Our issues are probably not huge, but they are annoying and time wasting," she said.

Like Read, Harrison was hedging her bets on how successful the change would be but said the issues needed to be fixed once and for all.

"People work and they should get paid," she said.

The payroll system is responsible for about $170 million a fortnight in salaries and wages involving about 90,000 teachers and support staff across New Zealand.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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