It’s a new year for schools and their staff, but they appear to be suffering the same old problems with their payroll system, Novopay.
A Palmerston North school principal says the apologies from Novopay's operator and the Education Ministry have become a joke.
Ross Intermediate principal Wayne Codyre is wearing jandals, but he's not on holiday. He's at school dealing with Novopay problems.
“The word ‘sorry’ has been said too much,” he says. “Every email that we get that starts with 'we apologise' is becoming a bit of a joke.”
Mr Codyre's school lost $27,000 from an earlier pay cycle, and $6500 disappeared from the school account at Christmas.
“Since its implementation I have been deeply disappointed with its implementation and the direction,” says Mr Codyre.
About 60,000 school staff were paid by Novopay overnight, and the NZEI education union says there were more payroll errors.
“Its old problems haven't been fixed, new problems emerge,” says Paul Goulter of the NZEI. “There's a complete randomness.”
The Education Ministry says it isn't aware of new problems, but says there's still a backlog of a few hundred mistakes from earlier pay cycles.
“It's improving but I wouldn't say it’s going well,” says Rebecca Elvy, group manager education workforce at the Ministry of Education. “There are still issues.”
Mr Codyre says it's too late to change to another payroll system, but stressed school staff deserve better treatment from the ministry and Novopay operator Talent2.
“Compensation might not be the right word, but some sort of recognition that schools have had to go beyond what’s expected of them,” he says.
The ministry says it will reward school staff for their extra efforts once Novopay is working properly.
“We are so grateful that schools have done what they've done,” says Ms Elvy. “It’s amazing the efforts they've gone to.”
Schools face another Novopay test early next month, when payments are due for the start of the school year.