Survey finds more than 80 percent of schools suffering under Novopain
A nationwide survey of schools by NZEI Te Riu Roa has indicated that Novopay continues to have major problems, with huge numbers of staff not being paid properly and thousands of hours wasted in untangling the mess.
In the past few days NZEI has conducted an in-depth phone survey of 30 schools selected randomly, following concerns voiced by principals, teachers and support staff.
The survey found that 25 schools out of 30 – more than 80 percent - reported serious issues with Novopay.
NZEI Te Riu Roa General Manager for Member Services Andrew Casidy says it is time the government sorted out the mess that has been ongoing since Novopay’s launch in September 2012.
“We did this survey because what we were hearing from our members simply didn’t ring true with the rosier picture that Minister Steven Joyce had been painting. We believe that the Minister has been totally downplaying the extent of the problems.
“Even if we extrapolate those numbers very conservatively across the country, it’s clear a huge number of schools are suffering,” he says.
“Novopay is clearly not up to the task. This debacle has been going on for 18 months, is having a huge impact on schools throughout the country, and it’s not getting any better. Minister Steven Joyce needs to get it fixed.
“The strain and frustration inside schools is obvious, with reports of stressed-out payroll administrators, unpaid staff unable to pay their bills, and other work being sidelined while principals try to untangle the mess.”
“This is having an impact on student learning. Principals have asked how the government expects them to be school leaders when they’re bogged down dealing with this nonsense day after day. In how many other occupations would staff turn up to work week after week without payment?
“Novopay has been placing very real costs on schools in terms of extra support staff time. Across the board schools have had to find more administration time and some have even hired extra staff to handle it.”
The Novopay problems cover a huge range of issues – from problems with tax to non-payment, to overpayment, to holiday pay to issues around support staff payments. The list goes on and on.
Typically, a school that previously spent something like four hours a pay period now spends up to 14 hours a pay period – just dealing with Novopay.
And when errors occur, time and frustration spirals. The survey found that the Novopay helpline was extremely slow and unresponsive and that helpline staff were unequipped to deal with the issues. Another major gripe for schools is the endless paperwork and endless checking of forms.