By 3 News online staff
The minister responsible for Novopay, Steven Joyce, has announced a support package for those affected by the botched payroll system.
Addressing a press conference this afternoon, Mr Joyce said the $6 million package is designed to go some way to meeting the costs of additional work caused by the system.
“Schools are experiencing increased administration workloads to manage the Novopay issues and they have requested financial relief,” he said.
“This $6 million support package recognises the impact that Novopay has created for schools and will assist in addressing some of these issues.”
Mr Joyce says the package will run until June when it is expected issues with Novopay will be ironed out.
The package will be allocated as a one-off payment across the education sector, calculated on a formula of $105 per Full-time Teaching Equivalents (FTTEs) plus $500 per school.
This means a small school of five full time teachers would receive $1025, while a large school of 120 full time teachers would receive $13,100.
The compensation each school has been allocated is equivalent to five hours of administration costs per pay period, which happen fortnightly.
"The package recognises the impact Novopay has created for schools and will assist with some of these issues,” Mr Joyce said.
The Government will continue to operate Novopay for the next six to eight weeks, but if serious failures continue, it has a back up system built by Datacom that it can roll out.
“There is no easy option here,” Mr Joyce said. “We are seeing some progress – but it’s not enough progress yet.”
Mr Joyce conceded this is a ‘very difficult and complex situation”.
“This thing is not in good shape and we’re steadily working through resolving problems. But there’s nothing worse than dealing with what we have in the last couple of months – and that is that nobody gets paid at all.”
There are still 526 current defects with the Novopay system. Of these, 49 are very serious, 320 are serious, 115 are moderate and 42 are cosmetic.
Mr Joyce says if the issues are not sorted by the end of June, when the compensation fund runs out, the government will look at rolling out another round of compensation.
Talent 2 has not paid any compensation to the Government for its failure to successfully roll out Novopay. Mr Joyce says that issue will be dealt with after the system has been fixed.
Mr Joyce also announced non-financial support which is available immediately for those affected by Novopay:
- Extending the Banking Staffing balancing period to enable schools to manage staffing allocations across more than a single year;
- MoE identifying duplicate queries from schools faster and emailing and calling schools directly on the Thursday when the draft Staff Usage and Expenditure reports come out;
- Regional support for schools including basing Novopay Specialists in regions to improve direct support for schools;
- Providing employee assistance programmes to staff at schools experiencing stress;
- Putting system fixes in place to allow school administrators to see if their time sheets have been processed and also allow them to complete time sheets online for relieving teachers;
- Improved operational communications regarding using Novopay, accessing support, and managing the known issues.
This is in addition to the measures already in place:
- Ex-gratia financial recognition where employees have experienced out of pocket expenses when a pay was late or wrong (e.g. bank charges);
- An operations grant advance where a school is experiencing cash flow issues because of direct payments made to staff;
- Direct access to advice for schools and to employees who cannot access the support provided by the Novopay Service Centre;
- Case by case discretion on meeting charter deadlines for schools to relieve their administration burdens.