Novopay compensation welcomed by sector groups

By Kate Shuttleworth

Novopay victim Colin Cowie protests the Novopay debacle. Photo / APN
Novopay victim Colin Cowie protests the Novopay debacle. Photo / APN

Schools will receive $5 more per teacher in a Novopay compensation package announced by Government this week, but sector groups say the decision took too long.

Six weeks ago education sectors groups made a proposal to the Education Ministry and Minister responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce asking for $5.8m.

Mr Joyce announced the compensation deal yesterday, saying he "rounded'' up the request for $5.8m.

The education sector group which morphed out of the Payroll Reference Group asked for the Government to compensated schools by $5.8m six weeks ago.

New Zealand Principals' Federation president Philip Harding, who represents 2150 principals, said he was expecting the worst, but had been pleasantly surprised when the compensation package worked out at approximately an extra $5 per teacher.

"You're never going to full satisfaction on something like this.''

He said the impact Novopay had on schools had been uneven.

"Some schools have had a far worse deal than others, you could be in a school of three or four people with few problems or you could be in a small school with major problems.

"Some schools are going to look at the money and think it's close to what it's cost us - others are going to say you've got to be joking; this doesn't go near it.''

Mr Harding said a blanket approach to compensation for schools was a start.

He said as a member of the sector group he agreed something needed to happen quickly and needed to be uncomplicated.

"We agreed on a simple formula that would put money out there quickly.''

He said the Government had taken too long to make a decision on the compensation.

Information on the compensation payout were emailed to schools directly from the ministry and from the School Trustees Association.

Post Primary Teachers Association president Angela Roberts said timing had been an issue.

"This didn't start six weeks ago, this started six months ago.

"We really had to force them to the table.

"This is the first thing they have done in seven months - but it's great they have.''

"In the end they understood it was useful to work with the sector,'' she said.

Sacred Heart College principal Lisl Prendergast said today she had written a letter to Mr Joyce thanking him.

"I think he's a reasonable man and he might consider more compensation after June''

She said her priority would be using the approximate $7000 the school is set to receive to compensate her deputy principal and executive officer who have been administering Novopay for the school.

She said the human cost had been high and she would focus use of the money on this.

Mrs Prendergast said the problems with Novopay had escalated to being nearly at the level of a public scandal.

Last year one of her staff members was overpaid by $9000.

- APNZ

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