Teacher pay blunder may be law breach
Thu, 15 Nov 2012 3:15p.m.
The Government is refusing to comment on suggestions it is breaking the law through ongoing blunders with a new teacher payroll system, which has seen some school staff go unpaid for months.
The error-ridden $26 million Novopay payroll system was launched by the Education Ministry two months ago with a bungled first pay round that caused thousands of errors in teachers' pay.
Associate Education Minister Craig Foss last week told Parliament the issues would be fixed by Friday - a deadline that was later extended to Wednesday, but has still not been rectified.
The Government now faces questions over whether its actions are a breach of the Wages Protection Act, and therefore illegal.
The Department of Labour says under the act, employees should be paid "on the day and at the intervals that have been agreed with the employer".
On Thursday, Mr Foss said he did not "concede" that the ongoing issues were a breach of the law.
"I'm not commenting if it's in breach or not - I need to be briefed on that - but right now all energy is to get everybody paid correctly, accurately and on time."
He added that if staff had not been paid, they should contact their school's payroll officer, who was able to give them their pay directly from the school's operations grant.
Mr Foss defended the company behind the payroll system, Talent2, saying they had made "good progress" on fixing the problems, but it was not good enough.
He said the process for enforcing financial penalties on Talent2 for the errors - which mean it has failed to meet key performance indicators in its contract with the Ministry of Education - is "well underway".
The company's reputation was "suffering a bit" because of the debacle.
It is understood the Education Ministry has given the company authority to speak to the media about the matter, but a Talent2 spokesperson told NZ Newswire the company would only respond to enquiries that were submitted in writing.
Mr Foss said he would be interested to hear what the company had to say.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
16/11/2012 11:41:02 a.m.
Who owns this company and how did they get the contract. They should loss any bonuses. Why is such a expensive system so full of holes. Pay the money back and revert back to the old system.
15/11/2012 10:21:39 p.m.
Lisa Wilson wrote:
If this happened to Parliament pay checks you would have a riot in the beehive. John Key and his education cohorts dont give a damn about anyone. Heads should roll regarding this. Get rid of Hekia parata and the National party.
15/11/2012 10:01:06 p.m.
@ Mike: are you serious? Do you really think the teachers' unions would deliberately plan something like this? Seriously? A union engineering a scheme that results in thousands of teachers either not being paid or getting incorrect pay in order to discredit the National party and get Labour back in office. Wow - what a lowly view you must have of organised labour. It sounds like you've been watching too many conspiracy films.
For what it's worth, school payrolls work like this: each school's executive officer (or whomever handles payroll at that school) sends a data file off to NovoPay (and previously PayServe) every fortnight the week before pay is due (so schools send the file to NovoPay in Week 1; Week 2, NovoPay processes the salaries; Week 3, schools send the file to NovoPay; Week 4, Novopay processes the salaries etc).
There's two places in which an error may occur - once when the executive officer generates the data file (which includes all permanent, part-time, and relief teaching staff, as well as any support staff who are being paid directly by the Ministry and aren't receiving wages from school operation grants) and once when NovoPay process that data. The Ministry doesn't come into it. Now, it may be that school executive officers up and down the land are completely feckless and don't know how to use the system properly. Doubt it. What's more likely is that there are processing errors at the NovoPay's end - executive officers have been doing these data files for years, remember, whereas NovoPay have only been processing them for 3 months.
15/11/2012 7:56:59 p.m.
Mrs J wrote:
The ministry can send out all the trainee "roadshows" they like and put as many people in the call centres as they like - it makes no difference. The talent2 system was not ready,was not properly tested and does not work. Teachers just want to get paid for work they have done. Office administrators are not part of a bizare conspiracy to overthrow the ministry they are just trying to work with a very very shoddy budget system.
15/11/2012 7:45:24 p.m.
We still have no idea
That's the most accurate post you have ever done!
15/11/2012 4:17:11 p.m.
We still have no idea about the problems and where they are coming from, or even how the new system works vs the old.Does the new system require the schools themselves to input data to pay the teachers? And if so, is it the schools themselves stuffing up that is causing the pay debacle?Or is info sent to Talent2 to input, adding a extra set of hands and errors?Or do the schools send info to the ministry who sends to Talent2?We dont know. So we dont even know what is going wrong or who is to blame yet. Are the problems sloppy work by someone, or deliberate as part of a politcal ove? The teachers union planned industrial action in 2013 last year with the worst Labour defeat in election history, so its possible this was planned above techers themselves by their own union.Its also possible that the new payroll system is making mistakes, but that is unlikely. Most likely is errors are being input into the system, and we need to find who is making the mistakes. Is it the schools, the ministry, or Talent2. If it goes to court they will ask the same questions. And if Talent2 aren't making mistakes and its input errors by others, they wont be liable for the mistakes.Typically for testing purposes any replacement system gets the same data as the prior system to check it can run fully. What happened to the system testing before changeover? And where are the current problems coming from? Schools/ministry/Talent2?
Prime Minister John Key has labelled the Labour-led Opposition the "devil beast"...
What began as a protest for more pay has morphed into a battle against cheap bur...
Police had to physically push anti-poverty protestors back after they tried to b...
Shamed National MP Aaron Gilmore has given a teary final speech in Parliament....
Tonight comes the Budget announcement you didn't hear yesterday – Food for Schoo...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.