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Enough talk – Novopay rescue package needed now

8 February 2013

Enough talk – Novopay rescue package needed now

While investigations are being launched into who is responsible for the Novopay payroll disaster – schools, students, principals and administration staff are buckling under the pressure of a broken payroll system.

PPTA is urgently calling for a rescue package to support the education sector while the Novopay mess is sorted out, president Angela Roberts said.

“In an ideal world the system would be replaced tomorrow with something that works effectively – but realistically, even with a technical review underway, that is not going to happen. If reality dictates schools must endure until the payroll system is repaired or replaced then we must ensure they, their personnel and students do not bear the brunt of a situation not of their own making.”

It was unacceptable that resources, time and funding were being drained from the core functions of schools and that the focus of senior managers and teachers was being constantly directed away from teaching and learning, Roberts said.

“At this time of year teachers and principals should be concentrating on settling their cohort of students in. It is not right that students’ education should suffer because of this.”

In consultation with principals and senior managers PPTA is writing to minister in charge of school payroll Steven Joyce and acting secretary for education Peter Hughes suggesting some mechanisms that could provide recompense and support for schools.

The list includes: financial compensation for schools via the operations grant, additional tagged support staff time so teachers get back to teaching and principals back to leading learning; extra time for senior managers who have had to put their professional responsibilities on hold to focus on Novopay and a one-off special leave provision for principals who have been working all hours, gratis, for Talent2. It also calls for the employment of more trained staff at the Novopay call centres with each school having an identified contact person; the provision of EAP (employee assistance programmes) for staff suffering from stress and compensation for interest, penalty payments and tax incurred by teachers and schools.

“We support the reviews underway and expect those responsible for taking the risk in launching this flawed system to be held to account but that’s not going to solve the actual problem. The decision to implement this system was not made by schools or those working in them and they should not be left to suffer the consequences unsupported,” she said.

ENDS

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