19 Sep 2012

School payroll system fails again

10:10 pm on 19 September 2012

The new school payroll system has again delivered an error-ridden pay day to teachers and school support staff, with 1500 not paid properly.

Of the nearly 90,000 people covered by the Novopay system, 1100 were under-paid and a further 400 were not paid at all on Wednesday - the second pay day under the $30 million system.

It was little better than Novopay's first pay day two weeks ago, when 5600 people were underpaid and 15 not paid, and teachers and principals are angry.

The Ministry of Education says it will fix the mistakes by Friday, or schools can pay teachers directly themselves.

But principals' patience is running out and they are particularly unhappy with the extra time their administrative staff are spending on the new system.

The acting principal of the country's largest school, Rangitoto College in Auckland, says problems with the new national school payroll are not acceptable.

Don Hastie says the payroll problems are affecting his 60 non-teaching staff most of all.

The primary teachers union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, says some staff have been reduced to tears over the botch-ups and a number of schools cannot afford to pay staff for the extra work Novopay has created for them.

Principals want to bill the ministry for that work but the ministry says it has no plans to reimburse them.

It says it is confident once the initial problems are ironed out, the new system will take schools much less time.

Ministry can't give assurance on next pay day

However, the ministry does not know if the problems will be fixed by the next pay day.

The ministry's Leanne Gibson, who is managing the payroll switchover, told Checkpoint she never promised the problems would be fixed by now and cannot promise they will be fixed in a fortnight.

She says any teachers who have been given penalties for late payments because the payroll failure left them with no money to pay their bills will be reimbursed by the ministry.