Novopay? More like, no pay
Wed, 14 Nov 2012 7:00p.m.
The Novopay teachers’ pay system which came online in August cost the taxpayer $30 million - but it’s still not working.
The error-ridden payrolls were supposed to be fixed by today, but there are ongoing problems.
Six weeks ago, Campbell Live asked the Ministry of Education when Novopay will be working. The answer was “soon”. Last week, Campbell Live provided details of one desperate person to the ministry so they could make sure she was paid. They wrote back, saying she would be paid in full on the next payday – November 14.
That was today, and she still wasn’t paid.
The ministry has her name and all her details, they know she is desperate, they told Campbell Live they would pay her. But they haven’t.
Novopay has become a $30 million episode of Fawlty Towers. Is it acceptable to have a $30 million payroll system that doesn’t pay people?
Tonight Campbell Live has more examples of how Novopay hasn’t paid.
Bryce Thomas is the caretaker at Maungaturoto Primary School in Northland. He has been in the job five years and loves doing it.
But recently, he has been doing it more for the love than the money: since early September, every one of Mr Thomas’ paychecks has been incorrect, and it wasn’t long before the problems started.
“Probably about the third [payday] I missed a mortgage payment – that hurt a bit, we got stung on that,” he says.
“Then we had to refinance things and that as well. It’s just a pain in the arse.”
For 10 weeks now, Mr Thomas has been promised his pay will get sorted. Maungaturoto Primary principal, Shane Campbell, even has it in writing: an email from Novopay last week assured him Mr Thomas’ pay would be fixed.
“Then I have to become the bad guy and head back out and tell the person, ‘I’m sorry, there’s been no pay,’” Mr Campbell says.
“They’ve got the technology these days," says Mr Thomas. "I know our year six kids could probably get it sorted in this school here. They’re good on computers."
Ten weeks on, every single one of Mr Thomas’ pay packets has been wrong. That’s 10 weeks of financial hardship. Ten weeks of disappointment. Ten weeks of empty promises.
“They just keep on lying and lying and lying,” he says. “It’s all they do. Either they’ve got monkeys working at Novopay, or not enough monkeys working there.”
Time and again the Ministry of Education has assured Campbell Live that Novopay issues would get sorted.
“They say it will get sorted the next payday, but nah – they’re just lying through their teeth,” says Mr Thomas.
“Can they fix it? It seems they can’t,” says Mr Campbell.
With just two more pay periods until Christmas, an already desperate situation is fast approaching breaking point.
“Novopay need to realise the impact this is having – not only on the person getting paid, but the impact on their families,” says Mr Campbell.
“People are starting to plan Christmas. People are starting to budget for Christmas and that time of the year and people are nervous, people are fearful and all they want from Santa is to be paid.
“They deserve a lot more than that.”
For Dunedin mother-of-two Jacque Ruston, Novopay still equals no pay.
“I’m just astounded that any employer would still expect someone to be coming to work, three months after they hadn’t been paid at all,” she says.
Campbell Live spoke to Ms Ruston last week, when she was at her wit’s end. For seven weeks, she hasn’t received a cent – and that meant she could no longer afford gas to even get to her work, as an administrator at Parakaunuiu School.
But the ministry promised that its previous mistakes would be fixed. Speaking to Campbell Live, the ministry said: “Our sincere apologies to Jacque for this situation […] Jacque will be paid in full on the next payday, 14 November.”
“Nothing happened,” Ms Ruston says. “The principal took me aside yesterday and asked me if I was feeling emotionally strong and showed me the report. My name didn’t appear on it.
“That was a bit of a surprise. I thought after the assurances of last week, that would be a given.”
What is astounding is, in trying to fix the problem, Novopay created another one.
“It must be riddled with bugs for this particular case to not even be able to be fixed in the last week," says Ms Ruston. "The problem this week is that I have been issued with not one, but two MoE codes and that has flummoxed them to the point of paralysis."
So now the ministry doesn’t know where to pay the money to.
Ms Ruston is back at school – only because the Board of Trustees paid her out of school funds, so that she could register her car, fill it with gas and come to work.
“People have been really generous,” she says. “Old school friends have come out and offered me interest-free loans and I’ve had to say yes to it. It is a really strange, unusual situation to be in – but I’m taking offers of help from friends. People have been great.”
But goodwill can only stretch so far, and Ms Ruston is quickly losing faith in the ministry and a system which has so far failed to live up to its $30 million price tag.
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28/11/2012 6:48:07 p.m.
Ms Longstone need to fall on the sword and resign, The associate Minister Craig Foss should step down. These people are ultimately responsible for this monuments waste of tax payer money. This smells of the INCIS police computer system that failed in the 1990's George Hawkins said he believes this lack of project specification is the reason for the project being in the state it is. "The major mistake was that Police didn't really know what they wanted when they started the project. They had a project, but they never did the sitting down and the working out. It was sold to the government, it was sold to several ministers, before it really got the plan." I think NOVA PAY also failed for the same reason and will suffer the same fate, large sums of extra tax payer funds will be required to fix this.
28/11/2012 6:48:03 p.m.
17/11/2012 9:48:28 a.m.
I wonder if the ‘Deputy Minister of Education’ is actually aware of how schools actually operate. Schools bulk funding is not a never-ending pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The bulk funding given to schools each quarter is to operate that school for that particular quarter. It has to cover everything from support staff and some teacher salaries, maintenance, school resources, power, phones, water, everything right down to the toilet paper. Schools still have there own bills to pay, I wonder if the people they have to pay would be understanding if they didn’t receive their payments – and then their staff could not be paid… It is not as simple as people think.
Is is all very well to say the schools should pay people from there bulk grant, and I am sure those schools who can are doing so. But as there is no way of knowing when you will receive the money back from novopay – you have to be sure your school can still operate. What pupose would it serve if you paid people who had not received their pay through novopay, only to find on the next payday you can’t afford to pay your support staff. If it is such an easy fix – why hasn’t the Ministry forked out the money… The bottom line is Talent2 has been 'paid' to pay all school staff correctly and on time - they are not doing that and the Ministry must stop passing the buck and get it sorted now....
17/11/2012 7:04:23 a.m.
Anyone get the feeling its the same kind of insanity as stopping to guess the tune the band are playing, as the Titanic goes down. You have a SUPER-City, you won't have to wait long for a SUPER-School and in the interim, you get a SUPER-Fiasco for your entertainment....Thanks but no need for the applause, we're not in this business for the acclaim..... and remember Austerity measures and Novopay...eventually they'll pay off.
PS Looks like we know where the cloak of invisibility ended up after LOTR-3. Draped over the top of the PM and his Minister of Uneducation.
16/11/2012 7:25:54 p.m.
Just Me wrote:
I have said this to others: If any of our MPs in parliament went almost 3 months without being paid they would be making a song and dance about it(the non-pay).
I am now wondering if our economy is all that well when teachers are not being paid.And if our teachers are not being paid then how many in the private industries are not being paid and haven't been so for more than 3 months?
Is NZ heading down the same direction as Greece with public servants not being paid whilst the politicians still receive an income via the taxpayers of NZ?
I would say there are,as per usual,too many chiefs and noth enough Indians especially in the Ministry of Education.
16/11/2012 6:23:31 p.m.
Ok enough with the back and forth...if the people working at Novapay can't do the job because they are not trained ect,.. get people in who know how to run the system and stop this shocking incompetence. Surely our teachers deserve better.
16/11/2012 4:40:00 p.m.
Immoral, cruel and unacceptable. Is this government the French "Maria Antoinette-Louise XVI et. al" of these times? How can any Democratic government of any Democratic country in the 21st century allow for this to happen and not do anything about it? It appears to me that the ruling government is not in touch with the pressing needs of its ordinary citizens, but only people in high places, Warner Brothers, the Royals and the like! Shame on you, allowing young families to suffer so much unnecessary financial distress and ignore their pleas for so many months!
16/11/2012 8:09:01 a.m.
Clare B wrote:
Yes - What a nightmare. Last term I worked a .2 day, got paid for it (luckily) but then when I did some relieving days that is when the mess started. I finally got my back pay. At the start of Term 3 I started working .6 but up until week 4 was only getting paid for my .2 day. Then in week 5 one of my other .2 days (which I was not getting paid for ) changed to a .1 so they terminated my contract but they were not paying me for that day! so I am now working .6 but getting paid .1! how can that be?
15/11/2012 11:32:27 p.m.
Vicki W wrote:
I feel so sorry for those support staff who are worse off than me. I am getting some pay but now I am not receiving payslips so I can't work out which schools have paid and which haven't as I relief teach at 4 different ones.I feel awful having to repeatedly ask office staff to enquire for me but never hear back about any of the issues except sometimes they say the matter has been emailed back as "closed". I wonder if any of my concerns have even made it onto the calculations of reported errors as I know I have about 15 errors re my pay alone. Another workmate hasn't received payslips and today found they were going to an old address she hasn't lived at for years since splitting with her husband. Edupay sent them to the correct address before the change over. Puzzling
15/11/2012 7:24:42 p.m.
Mike Edwards wrote:
Maybe facetious. But the Minister was just shown on your show. He said basically that employees of MOE had a right to "renumeration".. used the same term several times. I suspect he meant remuneration as this means being paid and the other word, if it exists, would mean to renumber. Do employees of MOE need to be renumbered? Redundancies? PS I am NOT a teacher.. just a citizen concerned with language. And interested as to why MOE ditched Multiserve.. a NZ company which had managed pay for MOE efficiently for a number of years.
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