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School pay continues improvement

School pay continues improvement

The latest Novopay complaints reports confirm the system is settling back into a more consistent and steady state after the busy start-of-year period.

Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce today released the reports on complaints and notifications received in regards to Pay Periods 1 and 2 of the schools’ payroll. Pay Period 1, the first of the new financial year, was paid on the morning of 2 April, and paid 88,944 people a total of $176.52 million.

The report for that pay shows complaints and notifications were received regarding 0.15 per cent of staff across the country, 35 staff were notified as not paid, 49 were overpaid, and 51 underpaid. Affected staff were from 106 schools or 4.38 per cent of schools in the payroll system.

Pay Period 2, was paid on the morning of 16 April, and paid 89,624 people a total of $177.07 million.

The report for that pay shows complaints and notifications were received regarding 0.09 per cent of staff across the country, 13 staff were notified as not paid, 30 were overpaid, and 40 underpaid. Affected staff were from 76 schools or 3.14 per cent of schools in the payroll system.

“The performance of the school payroll in Pay Periods 1 and 2 were back well within the 0.5 per cent acceptable steady state error rate as defined by the Novopay technical review and compares favourably with the same pay periods last year,” Mr Joyce says.

“Out of the last 26 pay periods, three have been above the acceptable error rate. These three pay periods (23, 24, and 25) were part of the busy start-of-year process that has historically caused problems due to the high number of transactions that need to be processed.”

Mr Joyce says while performance is now stable again from pay period to pay period, work continues to further improve the delivery of the school payroll system, including planned revisions to the service centre model and resolving outstanding overpayments and leave balances.

“We've listened to what school payroll administrators, principals and sector leaders have been saying about the service centre and its performance – especially during the start of the year – and we’re using their feedback to shape how we improve it,” Mr Joyce says.

Collecting the large number of outstanding overpayments remains a priority. As at 30 March this year, there were 17,374 overpayments worth $18.3 million dating back to when Novopay first started. More than half of that debt ($9.4 million) has so far been repaid, and the current repayment rate is around $1 million a month. $156,000 of the debt has been written off (due to each debt being below $100). While the Education Ministry continues to work with employees to recover overpayments, no-one is being referred to debt collection agencies.

Mr Joyce says sector and school feedback was also being used to improve the process around school annual accounts.

“The Ministry introduced changes this year that aimed to improve the accuracy of the data schools receive to complete their annual accounts. Last year there was some very significant Novopay-related errors,” Mr Joyce says.

“We appreciate that schools have been frustrated by some delays in receiving this information. The Ministry has apologised to them and has provided additional support to help them work through this process.”

Resolving the remaining issues with leave balances continues to be complex as each ticket often has multiple issues making them harder to clear quickly. There are around 3900 to be cleared – down from around 5000 in November last year.

Work on clearing bugs is on-going with good progress made over the last year. At the end of February 2013 there were 613 outstanding bugs of which 60 were classified as Category Two, or ‘very serious’. Now there are 235 outstanding bugs with only two Category Two bugs remaining.

Other planned changes in the next few months include improvements to the readability of payslips and regular administrative reports, as well as a project to reduce the complexity of the payroll system.

Percentage of staff about which complaints and notifications receivedNumber of Schools affected
Pay Period 20.09%76
Pay Period 10.15%106
Pay Period 260.19%138
Pay Period 250.78%*432
Pay Period 241.06%*#615
Pay Period 230.69%*268
Pay Period 220.18%68
Pay Period 210.25%92
Pay Period 200.34%166
Pay Period 190.19%111
Pay Period 180.079%62
Pay Period 170.093%68
Pay Period 160.084%58
Pay Period 150.21%118
Pay Period 140.18%133
Pay Period 130.15%108
Pay Period 120.12%109
Pay Period 110.21%151
Pay Period 100.27%173
Pay Period 90.12%76
Pay Period 80.22%156
Pay Period 70.26%177
Pay Period 60.30%197
Pay Period 50.39%234
Pay Period 40.42%247
Pay Period 30.26%166
Pay Period 20.44%264
Pay Period 12.14%^386
Pay Period 260.43%**232
Pay Period 251%**406
Pay Period 241.90%**447
Pay Period 232.20%**628

^ This was higher due to the one-off voluntary bonding error
* Start of school year pay 2014
** Start of school year pay 2013
# This was higher due to one-off Principal Career Structure payment error




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