Ministry flunks horribly on pay

By Heather McCracken

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I'm sure there are many frustrations involved in being a teacher - long hours, difficult work, and, at times, difficult kids.

And I'm sure most of us would agree they're paid quite modestly, given the importance of what they do.

So to be underpaid, or not paid at all, as a result of the problems with the Ministry of Education's new payroll system, Novopay, is an added frustration teachers don't need.

The new payroll system that was supposed to ensure teachers were paid the right amount every time has been a disaster.

Anyone who works for a company that employs an IT department will understand the all-too-common frustration of having a system "upgraded" only to find that key functions no longer work.

But a payroll system is too important to mess up, and to fail to fix for weeks on end.

Some teachers have reportedly been left thousands of dollars out of pocket, and waiting weeks for the money they're owed to come through.

Primary principals also last week said they would start to invoice the ministry for the time they were spending trying to sort out the payment fracas - saying thousands of hours have been taken away from teaching.

The invoices no doubt won't be taken very seriously by the ministry, but they will at least serve to illustrate the toll that has been taken on schools and teaching staff.

A local teacher wrote to us last week saying she'd written to politicians including the Prime Minister, Minister of Education, and our local MP, John Hayes, trying to get some help sorting out the issue.

She'd belatedly heard back from only the minister and PM.

If that's how seriously they're taking the issue, then teachers have good reason to be worried.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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