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Ministry of Education job cut review delayed

Tuesday 27 Nov 2012 3:22 p.m.

By 3 News online staff

A review which could see job cuts at the Ministry of Education payroll department has been delayed amidst the Novopay debacle.

Last week the ministry put out a proposal to reduce payroll staff from 23 to 14 once the Novopay system was working well.

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, and more recently there have been privacy breaches with staff records going to the wrong schools.

The review proposal drew criticism from the Public Service Association (PSA), union leaders and opposition MPs, as well as Associate Education Minister Craig Foss who told Fairfax he was “utterly flabbergasted by this decision”.

"Any plan to cut payroll staff numbers is totally out of sync with what the ministry is trying to achieve with the Novopay rollout,” he told Fairfax. “It's pretty clear that the ministry's payroll team needs more resources, not fewer."

PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says ministry staff have been told the review has been delayed until the system is running well, which would be April at the earliest.

Ms Pilott says the PSA requested the delay and is now pleased with the development.

“It will provide some much-needed breathing space for staff who have been putting in long, stressful hours, to concentrate on sorting out Novopay’s problems and preparing for the big Christmas payroll.”

The ministry also says it will launch a formal consultation period about the review before any changes are finalised.

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