Novopay 'pig' still mucking up

By Sonya Bateson

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Kym Mischewski (left) is being underpaid by Novopay while office manager Lynn Marriner says the system is time-consuming. Photo/George Novak
Kym Mischewski (left) is being underpaid by Novopay while office manager Lynn Marriner says the system is time-consuming. Photo/George Novak

Novopay is "a pig" schools are stuck with says a Tauranga principal.

Schools spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times report ongoing errors with staff pay cheques since Novopay was introduced in 2012.

In each fortnightly pay period, between 5 and 10 per cent of staff at Kaka St Special School had errors in their pay cheques, said principal Barrie Wickens.

"It's trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The errors are ongoing. The last pay period, I was the only one affected but the one before that six or seven of our 55 staff were.

"The system isn't getting more streamlined, it seems to be bumbling from one fortnight to the next."

Mr Wickens said it took about three days each fortnight for his office administrator to sort out paycheques. Before Novopay it took one day.

"The payroll people at schools probably have a horrible feeling in their stomach every pay day. It's a pig, but we're stuck with it."

Mr Wickens thought the Government should provide extra funds in schools' operations grants to cover Novopay staffing and errors as it was unlikely the system would be changed.

At Greenpark School at least one staff member every fortnight was affected by wrong payments.

Office manager Lynn Marriner said the saga had been "very frustrating" and the lack of training for school administrators had not helped.

"In saying that, a lot of the errors at the end and start of year have been at Novopay's end. The system itself is not functioning properly."

The help lines were not efficient either, Mrs Marriner said.

"In total in a fortnight it used to take me a day, now I'm spending at least two-and-a-half to three days every fortnight."

Incremental pay rises were held up for the whole of February for some Otumoetai Intermediate teachers.

Executive officer Barbara Schollum said the payments were starting to come right now, but the pay period before last saw nine staff get paid incorrectly.

Mrs Schollum said she double checked all pay forms and also got another staff member to check them. If there was one small mistake on a form, Mrs Schollum said Novopay would not let it be corrected over the phone, but would return the form and expect the school to send another through.

Steven Joyce, Minister responsible for Novopay, said there were still some issues with school payroll.

"Good progress has been made in stabilising and remediating the Novopay system. However, significant work remains to be done."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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