Novopay better but work needed

While Novopay has passed one of its biggest tests, the minister responsible for Novopay, Steven Joyce, concedes there is still a lot more work to be done on the troubled education payroll system.

Mr Joyce is ''encouraged'' by the recent low levels of error in Novopay's final two pay periods of last year.

He said a 100% completion rate for schools involved in the end-of-year process, and an accompanying low error rate, were tributes to the hard work done by school administrators, and those of Novopay staff and contractors.

Reports on complaints and notifications about pay periods 20 and 21 were released yesterday, and showed 0.34% of staff had issues with pay period 20 (December 21) and 0.25% of staff had issues with pay period 21 (January 8).

In pay period 20, 76,626 people were paid a total of $175.26 million.

Of those, 25 staff were notified as not paid, 99 were overpaid, and 138 underpaid. Affected staff were from 166 schools or 6.77% of schools in the payroll system.

Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce
Pay period 21 paid $139.21 million to 60,056 people, of which 32 staff were notified as not paid, 54 were overpaid, and 61 underpaid.

Affected staff in that pay period were from 92 schools, or 3.71% of schools in the payroll system, Mr Joyce said.

''It's encouraging that both pay days had similarly low levels of errors to that of other pay periods in the second half of last year.

''Pay periods 20 and 21 were the 20th and 21st of the last 22 pay rounds to perform below the 0.5% steady state error level identified as appropriate by the technical review team.''

Mr Joyce said the end-of-year period was a very busy time with considerable administrative changes needing to be made.

He said the education payroll was like no other in the country in terms of the complexity of this work, and the 2012-13 end-of-year process was when many errors occurred, and problems with the new system were highlighted.

Schools and the Novopay team were also making good progress with the start-of-year process for getting payroll systems prepared, he said.

''Two-thirds of schools had completed their start-of-year process before Christmas, and that number is now up to 95%.

''While Novopay has passed one of its biggest tests, more work needs to be done and is being done.

''This includes completing the start-of-year process, upgrading parts of the system that records length of service and completing outstanding work on leave balances.

''Meanwhile, work to collect past overpayments continues.''

Mr Joyce said work was also being planned to look at simplifying the end-of-year and start-of-year processes to ensure they would run as smoothly as possible in future.

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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