Press Release – PPTA
Schools crying out for help after the botched Novopay payroll system created a massive workload increase have been given just a days’ notice of a ministry training roadshow.
Schools were sent notice of the “end of year/start of year Novopay roadshows” yesterday. Wellington’s sessions – at Porirua College and Hutt Intermediate – are being run today. Venues and times for the rest of the country were only confirmed this morning.
PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said the union had been repeatedly approached by schools already at their wits end because of the huge and complex additional workload staff had been ill prepared for. “School staff and deputy principals are having to put the rest of their jobs aside and simply deal with Novopay,” he said.
Bunker criticised the ministry and Talent 2 (the company behind Novopay) for “an appalling lack of notice.”
“It shows very little understanding of how schools work and smacks of last minute planning. Schools need to organise for teachers to be freed from the classroom to attend these sessions and that is no small thing. This is an extraordinarily busy time of year for everyone in schools and to simply drop other priorities for this activity is thoughtless and inconsiderate,” he said.
Bunker also did not see any offer to follow the normal practice of relief funding for staff that would be absent. “Talent 2 is not doing schools a favour by letting them provide free labour on its proprietary profit-making payroll system. School employees are not indentured servants to Novopay.
“The ministry of education needs to find out nationally how many hours of employee time this is taking and then look at how it can recompense schools on an ongoing basis,” he said.
Particularly galling was the fact that, while teachers were having their pay botched and schools were essentially working for free, four anonymous members on the Novopay board were taking home up to $1700 per meeting. Information released under the official information act revealed the names of the ministry and Talent 2 management members, but the names of four “permanent external members” remain secret.
“We need to find out who these people are and they need to be held accountable,” Bunker said.
Press Release – Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education is pleased with turnout on the first day of its national Novopay training roadshow. The roadshow started today with presentations in Wellington for payroll administrators and principals. Group Manager Rebecca Elvy said the purpose was to help schools get ready to use Novopay during the critical end-of-year and start-of-year payroll periods, and to share tips on Novopay generally.
“We’ve been really appreciative of the time and effort payroll administrators and Principals have put in during these first weeks of Novopay’s implementation,” she said. “Schools told us they wanted more support for end of year and start of year processes, and today’s attendance shows the roadshow was the right way to go.”
“The Ministry is committed to maintaining a high level of support for schools, while we continue to work closely with Talent2 to implement the required improvements to the service,” she said.
“We’ve reduced waiting times at the Novopay service centre, fixed the report schools use to verify their payroll, and we’ve dramatically reduced underpayments and non payments from the first pay cycle.”
“We know how busy schools are, and how much time principals and administrators have spent on Novopay so we really appreciate them coming along,” she said.
The roadshow will continue in the North and South Islands next week, with workshops in Auckland, Nelson and Blenheim. The Wellington workshops will be repeated on 13 November, and the presentation will be put online for schools that can’t attend.
The full schedule, with dates, venues, and times is available at www.novopay.govt.nz.