Schools urged to reclaim expenses

TINA LAW
Last updated 10:34 24/12/2012

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Canterbury school principals are being urged to invoice the Government for extra hours spent sorting out the Novopay debacle.

Canterbury-Westland Secondary Principals' Association chairman Neil Wilkinson said he had advised his colleagues to invoice the Ministry of Education for the additional hours spent fixing pay problems for staff.

"That's the least they can do. We've got people with support staff in tears over this."

The new pay system has been plagued with problems since it was introduced in August with more than 8100 staff not paid or underpaid.

Wilkinson said he had paid his staff extra for the additional hours they had worked. He is principal at Amuri Area School, which has 240 pupils and 45 staff. The cost to bigger schools in the region would be more significant, he said.

Wilkinson said he had to call the Novopay helpline twice last week and spent 58 minutes on hold the first time and 38 minutes the second time.

"It's just ridiculous."

Wilkinson said he did not care whether the ministry or the company behind the Novopay system, Talent2, paid the additional money to schools, but someone had to.

Schools should not have to foot the bill, he said.

The association would also consider seeking wider compensation over the debacle, Wilkinson said.

"We've had people who are getting more for holiday pay than they got paid for the whole of the year."

Wilkinson said he had a cleaner who worked for two days during the year and got paid $2500 in holiday pay.

Principals in the region were increasingly upset and frustrated by the system.

Some were keen to pursue legal action against the ministry for breach of the basic right to get paid.

Principals had also raised the idea of creating their own pay system, but Wilkinson said that would be too costly and would take time to set up.

He hoped the next pay on January 10 went smoothly. It was probably one of the lighter pay periods of the year.

If that pay cycle was not right, then the little confidence he had left in Talent2 to get the system right, would be completely gone, Wilkinson said.

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