'No no pay' now a holiday hassle

21:58, Dec 15 2012
tdn teach stand
Left to right, Karen Patterson, Pauline Madgwick and Kelly Harvey of Inglewood Primary School

Inglewood Primary School office manager Pauline Madgwick had tears in her eyes as she described dealing with the system she dubbed "No no pay".

Mrs Madgwick and school principal Karen Patterson have been devoting up to six hours a day on top of their regular duties to ensure staff were paid properly.

The new school payroll system Novopay was rolled out in August and has caused problems across the country with school staff getting overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all.

She and Mrs Patterson are working up until three days before Christmas to ensure staff are paid.

"Two out of 13 of our support staff have been paid correctly. We've had normal staff overpaid, people getting no holiday pay," Mrs Patterson said.

She said they had done everything right and yet the system continued to let them down.


"We're in the business of people, that's what education is about.

"People before paper. We have to make sure our staff are paid, we don't want to have them go without Christmas."

She said the last pay round for the year was next Friday and if the pay did not come through she would be writing cheques to come out of the school's operations fund.

Kelly Harvey, a new entrant teacher at Inglewood Primary School, said when she moved from a fixed-term contract to full-time she did not get paid for four weeks.

She said the school offered to help but she declined.

"We were just scraping through. It's bad, especially around Christmas and with a mortgage and young child."

Mrs Patterson said communication was a major flaw of the system, at times sitting for two hours waiting for a Novopay operator to pick up the phone.

But she said she did not blame Novopay staff.

"The fault is not with the people on the end of the phone. With any new system there will be hooks. But it just doesn't seem like a commonsense application to a change of this magnitude."

Katrina Snowden, an art and relief teacher at Manukorihi Intermediate in Waitara, has received her first correct payslip this week since the Novopay payroll system was implemented.

She said she was better off than many other teachers because of the assistance she received from the school.

"I'm fortunate because I have a supportive principal and board of trustees who have given me money to tide me over," she said.

She was trying to remain positive about the ongoing problems.

"I drive 80 kilometres to the school each day because I love my job. You expect to get paid."

Frankley School principal Damon Ritai said any underpaid staff would be paid out of the school's operations grant.

"We've had to make provision to that and make sure we've got money to cover that.

"I'm apprehensive about the holidays."

The exact number of Taranaki teachers who have been affected by the Novopay problems could not be obtained.

Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern said the difficulties were due to an individual provider failing to deliver on a service.

"It has been an issue and a frustration to all of us.

"Certainly there will be much more vigilance placed on private providers from here on," he said.

Taranaki Daily News