New year and new Novopay problems

Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

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School principals are still seething over the Novopay debacle, although some in South Canterbury are trying hard to be optimistic about the system.

The pay system developed by Australian company Talent2, and introduced in August last year, has seen hundreds of support staff and teachers throughout the country overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all.

South Canterbury Principals' Association chairman Dave Armstrong said there was a small change in thinking that things may be moving in a positive direction but there were still a "disappointingly high" number of errors.

"The schools that I have spoken to generally have no confidence in Novopay or that it's going to be efficient in the immediate future. We are being hopeful though, because we have no choice," he said.

Beaconsfield School principal Wayne Facer said he was pleased senior Government minister Stephen Joyce had been appointed to sort out the mess.

"I'm thankful the Government is taking it seriously. I hope there will be swift progress," he said.

Timaru Boys' High School rector Kevin O'Sullivan said two of his teachers had not been paid and six support staff had significant complications this pay round.

An email he sent to the ministry with queries on January 4 had still not been acknowledged. He calls the system "infuriating" but hopes Mr Joyce will shake things up.

TBHS has had only one pay period with no problems since Novopay was introduced. School business manager Lyn Stewart spends at least three hours checking payslips plus numerous hours on the phone to the Ministry of Education trying to straighten out mistakes. She said the school had lent money to some staff who had not received pay this year. Allowances had also dropped off payslips or fixed-term positions were not acknowledged.

"It had got better at the end of last year but the start of this year has been disastrous."

Teachers changing schools has been problematic for Mountainview High School. Principal Derek Friend said getting staff off one payroll and onto another had been an issue.

"It is disheartening. They've had time to sort it out; it's a ridiculous situation."

Roncalli principal Chris Comeau said he was starting to be optimistic about the system towards the end of last year but that had changed this year.

One of his teachers has not been paid and several support staff were working through errors in their pay.

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- South Canterbury

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