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Minister announces school support package

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister responsible for Novopay
19 March 2013 Media Statement
Minister announces school support package

Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce today announced a $6 million support package for schools designed to go some way to meeting the costs of additional work caused by the Novopay system.

“Schools are experiencing increased administration workloads to manage the Novopay issues and they have requested financial relief. This $6 million support package recognises the impact that Novopay has created for schools and will assist in addressing some of these issues,” Mr Joyce says.

The $6 million package will be allocated as a one-off payment across the sector, calculated on a formula of $105 per Full-time Teaching Equivalents (FTTEs) plus $500 per school. For example:

• A small school of 5 FTTEs will receive $1,025
• A medium school of 20 FTTEs will receive $2,600
• A large school of 120 FTTEs will receive $13,100.

The support package will be provided as recognition for additional work through until the end of June, by which time it is expected that much of the backlog of issues will be cleared by the Backlog Clearance Unit. It is equivalent to five hours of administration time per pay period for the average-sized school over a six month period.

“This support package was prepared in consultation with the sector stakeholder groups and forms part of an overall package of financial and non-financial support,” Mr Joyce says.

Non-financial support available immediately includes:

• Extending the Banking Staffing balancing period to enable schools to manage staffing allocations across more than a single year
• MoE identifying duplicate queries from schools faster and emailing and calling schools directly on the Thursday when the draft Staff Usage and Expenditure reports come out
• Regional support for schools including basing Novopay Specialists in regions to improve direct support for schools
• Providing employee assistance programmes to staff at schools experiencing stress
• Putting system fixes in place to allow school administrators to see if their time sheets have been processed and also allow them to complete time sheets online for relieving teachers
• Improved operational communications regarding using Novopay, accessing support, and managing the known issues

This is in addition to the following measures already in place:

• Ex-gratia financial recognition where employees have experienced out of pocket expenses when a pay was late or wrong (e.g. bank charges)
• An operations grant advance where a school is experiencing cash flow issues because of direct payments made to staff
• Direct access to advice for schools and to employees who cannot access the support provided by the Novopay Service Centre
• Case by case discretion on meeting charter deadlines for schools to relieve their administration burdens

“The support package will be funded from Between Budget Contingency and it will go some way to relieve the impact of what has been a difficult time for school staff – particularly school payroll administrators,” Mr Joyce says.

“The on-going problems with Novopay are frustrating for everyone involved but they are complex to resolve and there is no quick fix. The range of measures announced today will hopefully assist in alleviating some of this frustration.

“I appreciate the extra effort that principals, school administrators and other staff are putting in to resolve the issues and I thank them for their continued hard work and patience.”

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