Green Island School principal Steve Hayward continues to
work through Novopay problems during his holidays. Photo by
Principals and support staff in Otago are among many
across the country who have been forced back to school early to
deal with the ongoing Novopay debacle.
Today is another payday for teachers, and many principals are
cutting their break short to try to sort out expected
problems arising from the payroll system.
Green Island School principal Steve Hayward said he and his
secretary had spent more than 15 hours since Christmas trying
to resolve issues arising from the previous pay cycle, and
they were likely to spend just as much time again on today's
''It's been very disruptive to my holiday.
''We've spent previous holidays going through Novopay issues,
trying to sort them out.
''We used to be able to do the payroll in one day. Now it
''There's thousands of people that aren't being paid
''If this was a normal workplace, the boss would be taken to
court,'' he said.
Macandrew Bay School principal Bernadette Newlands said she,
too, had spent a lot of time sending emails to Novopay to
sort out incorrect pay issues.
It was a nuisance and the lack of action from the Ministry of
Education was concerning, she said.
''Every time something new happens, you're waiting with bated
breath to see if people are correctly paid, and you're not
feeling confident that they will be.''
Both schools said they were trying to deal with former and
part-time staff members who had been overpaid by $600 each.
They are among 581 people nationwide who have been paid on
behalf of schools they have not worked at, and $560,000 has
been advanced by schools themselves to cover Novopay's
mistakes, figures released by the Ministry of Education this
The figures also show 7899 people have been underpaid or not
paid at all, more than 6000 people have been overpaid and
only 281 manual payments to correct faults have been
processed since Novopay started.
People trying to get through to the Novopay service centre
were waiting up to an hour and a-half, 15,000 calls going
unanswered or being abandoned altogether.
Mr Hayward was upset he and many other principals and support
staff were still at school working through the issues while
''the education minister is away happily on holidays''.
NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said the summer holiday
period would normally be the most straightforward pay period
of the year because it was the one time that no relievers and
support staff were on the payroll.
''But the issues around Novopay are so massive and entrenched
that principals believe they have no choice but to return to
schools to deal with the expected fallout from yet another
error-ridden pay period,'' he said.
''New errors develop every fortnight and there's nothing to
indicate that this pay period will be any different.
''The week prior to Christmas was a total shambles, despite
the Ministry of Education downplaying the problems.
''It was enormously stressful for principals and school
administrators at a very busy time.
''Now principals are being forced to come in early from their
break to deal with expected new problems.''
Mr Goulter said the most concerning issue was that the
unacceptable level of stress for staff caused by Novopay was
expected to continue into the new school year.