Teachers fear prospect of holiday pay chaos

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 07:44 15/11/2012

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Fear is mounting at Christchurch schools that hundreds of teachers could receive incorrect pay this Christmas because of the much-maligned Novopay system.

The situation has been made more complex in Christchurch because funding for more than 60 fulltime-equivalent teaching positions, over 85 schools, will end next month as rolls fall.

The Education Ministry launched the $29 million Novopay system in August and glitches have seen some teachers go without pay for almost two months.

The complex holiday pay cycle has raised concerns among teachers.

Teachers finishing a contract, part-time staff and relievers will be paid a lump sum. Teachers on permanent contracts remain on the two- week pay cycle throughout the holidays.

Mairehau Primary School administrator Heather Allott has little faith that school staff will be paid correctly because she is still working to rectify pay problems dating back to August.

Allott must file a report to Novopay by next Wednesday, detailing staff holiday payments. "It is going to be interesting," she said.

"I hope for the best but it could all go to custard again."

Allott spends hours each week working to rectify pay issues. A 90-minute phone call in which she hoped to resolve six issues last week saw only one fixed.

"I still have at least seven or eight things that have not been fixed from way back [in August]," she said.

Labour education spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta yesterday called for an urgent inquiry into Novopay.

"I personally have received dozens of letters and emails from angry teachers and school staff who have had their finances impacted by Novopay's continued errors. Our teachers and school staff deserve to know they will be paid each fortnight," she said.

The ministry said last night 92,465 teachers and school support staff were successfully paid in the latest Novopay pay-cycle.

There were fewer than 20 non-payments and underpayments so far identified, and 494 transactions from last night's pay cycle had not been processed, though not all missed transactions affected pay, Ministry group manager Rebecca Elvy said.

There was a backlog of 463 unprocessed transactions from the first few pay cycles the ministry still had to deal with, she said.

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- The Press

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