More teacher-pay chaos predicted

Last updated 10:31 17/01/2013

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The Ministry of Education has warned schools that Novopay will continue to cause havoc in coming weeks as thousands of teachers prepare for a new academic year.

The $29 million pay system has been hit with problems since it was launched in August.


Education Workforce group manager Rebecca Elvy said the start of the school year, when thousands of staff move schools and start new jobs, was ''always expected to be a challenging period in the introduction of a large pay system".

Because of this, the ministry had informed the education sector to expect further problems in the next two pay rounds.

Once these had been completed, the system was expected to improve.

"Improvements are being made to Novopay, but the ministry acknowledges that the rate of improvement is not nearly fast enough," Elvy said.


For the past three pay periods, the system has also been miscalculating the banking staffing reports principals use to calculate and track their staffing levels, meaning some schools will start the year in the red.

New Zealand Educational Institute national secretary Paul Goulter said the reports allowed schools to adjust their staffing across the year to ensure they were using teaching resource in the most efficient way.


''Schools use these reports to manage their staffing levels in order to ensure that they have employed the correct number of staff, including relievers, over an entire year.'' 

He said there may be some weeks where a school was not employing the full number of staff but would employ more staff later in the year as needs arose.

''If a principal gets those calculations wrong, it can be serious for that school,'' he said. 

''If they haven't employed enough teachers over a year, then students have been short-changed, but if they have employed too many, then they will have a funding shortfall.''


Elvy said the ministry had reassured schools affected by the inaccurate Novopay reports used to monitor staffing levels that none would be left disadvantaged. 

The technical fix for inaccurate reports was being rigorously tested and should be released within the next fortnight, she said.

The ministry would make an advance to any school experiencing cashflow problems because they had an overpayment to a staff member made out of their operational funding, she said.



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