Waikato schools dread pay cycle with Novopay
Waikato principals still frustrated by Novopay problems fear unresolved issues could leave some staff out of pocket over the Christmas holidays.
More than a year after the education payroll system went live, school staff say they are still "tearing their hair out" over the time and effort required to use it.
In the latest pay cycle, the Ministry of Education received complaints from only 0.079 per cent of staff at 62 schools.
Deanwell School principal Pat Poland said while there were few wrong payments, the complexity of Novopay was creating ongoing problems.
"We've got a system that's illogical, that's very hard to follow, that we're producing huge amounts of paper for and I find that bizarre.
"It's the complexity and the time it takes to get anything done. That's probably the biggest issue."
Mr Poland said he was dreading the end-of-year, start-of-year pay process and expected there would be "significant issues", as there were last year.
"That's when everything really hits the fan if it's not done properly," he said.
"There will be staff out of pocket over the holidays, but it's more likely that staff who shouldn't be paid will be paid."
Mr Poland said he was budgeting $6000 to $12,000 to employ a payroll officer for extra hours to manage Novopay's workload next year. The school was having to submit more paperwork than with the old system, yet Novopay was meant to be computer-based.
He said wait times to resolve issues by telephone or email were "horrendous" at times. And there were inconsistencies between what was required on paper forms and online forms.
Waikato Principals' Association president John Coulam said he had two staff members overpaid this week.
"Hopefully these won't take a year to sort out like last year's overpayments."
Mr Coulam also had concerns about the end-of-year, start-of-year pay process.
"The down side is that all schools will have closed for the year and, in some cases, the payroll people in schools will have gone overseas or elsewhere on holiday. If people are underpaid or overpaid, this may not be known for some time."
The deputy secretary of education for payroll services, Cathy Magiannis, said while significant progress has been made with Novopay over the past year, there were still outstanding issues.
She said the end-of-year process was the most complex in the school payroll calendar and steps had been taken to ensure it ran more smoothly than last year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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