The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has
revealed the Ministry of Education could be fined for failing
to pay school staff on time as a result of the bungled new
Novopay payroll system.
Patience is wearing very thin for many school principals and
administrators, as the fifth pay cycle occurred yesterday and
problems with the new $30 million Novopay payroll system
Many Otago schools have begun paying teachers' wages out of
their own funds in the wake of the Novopay problem, which has
left many teachers and support staff without regular salary
A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokeswoman
said the Wages Protection Act 1983 stated employees should be
paid on the day, and at the intervals, that have been agreed
with the employer.
Employers could not change the normal pay day without the
agreement of the employee, the spokeswoman said.
There are financial penalties for not complying with
employment laws, of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000
"Section 3 of the Wages Protection Act states `this Act shall
bind the Crown'.
"So yes, the Act, including the penalty provisions, apply to
In respect to any employment dispute, the Ministry of
Business, Innovation and Employment provided a range of
services and support to employers and employees, she said.
"Whether penalty provisions are utilised will depend on the
facts of each case.
"In many cases, achieving the right outcome will not require
the use of penalties."
Otago Primary Principals' Association president Brent
Caldwell declined to comment at this stage, but a New Zealand
Educational Institute spokeswoman said many schools would not
rule out using the legal option.
"Taking legal action is a backstop.
"We're not ruling it out, but because legal action is
time-consuming and expensive, our first priority is to try to
get the issues resolved.
"The Ministry of Education needs to be aware that schools are
facing a lot of time and money dealing with the system.
"Ultimately, it will be up to boards of trustees as to
whether or not they take legal action."
Otago Secondary Principals' Association president Brent
Russell said the problem was that there was no turning back.
"This system is here whether we like it or not."