This tag is associated with 13 posts

Legal action over Novopay support staff annualisation – NZEI


NZEI is continuing to vigorously pursue its case on behalf of 6000 support staff members in schools who are going to have their pay reduced for 27 fortnights in 2016 because of the way Novopay is dealing with pay annualisation.

Our lawyers have met this week with Crown Law and the Employment Authority.  The Authority had suggested a hearing in August and we have strongly opposed such a big delay in the proceedings.  As a result, the Authority has agreed to meet next week to set an earlier date for a hearing.

We will inform members once a date has been set.

About 27% of support staff have been affected by Novopay’s proposal to have 27 pay days in 2016, rather than the normal 26 pay periods.

Novopay’s approach will reduce the fortnightly payments to these support staff by approximately 3.7% each pay day over the 27 fortnights from pay period 23 in January.

NZEI believes that this is unacceptable. Technical calendar reasons have been given for Novopay’s proposed approach but Novopay has not been able to adequately explain why the reduction in fortnightly pay must occur.

The reduction in pay affects members who are already on low incomes.  We are also concerned that Novopay’s decision was made without any consultation or prior discussion either with members themselves or NZEI Te Riu Roa.  The situation has been compounded by poor communication from Novopay, with resulting confusion and concern in the sector.

Please call 0800 NZEI HELP if you have any queries about this.


Novopay’s end must not be bulk funding’s beginning – Metiria Turei

novopayThe end of the disastrous Novopay system must not serve as a stalking horse for the next big threat National poses to schools – the bulk funding of teacher salaries, the Green Party said today.

“Today’s announcement that the National Government will effectively nationalise Novopay, is an indictment on National’s blinkered ‘market knows best’ ideology and the entire teaching force are owed an apology,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.

“Teachers have been through hell for the last two years, while the Government has continued to deny there is even a real problem.

“Just a few weeks ago Finance Minister Bill English was blaming the principals’ collective agreements for Novopay’s problems, saying Novopay was as good as it can get and ‘it can be improved now only by making the underlying collective agreements less complicated than they are’.

“Now National is saying that Novopay is so dysfunctional it needs to nationalise the whole system – well which story is the one they want to stick to?

“It is well known that National wants to bulk fund teacher salaries and this is the obvious next threat on the horizon. With the Government in charge of teacher pay, National must not be allowed to use the Novopay fiasco to make this happen.

“Teachers have endured two years of hell, never knowing from one week to the next if they’ll get paid or what they’ll get paid and they need to be assured that the bulk funding nightmare is not set to follow that.

“Teachers are owed an apology and the promise of full and proper compensation for any losses. “It now looks like the people of New Zealand will be tens of millions out of pocket from this fiasco. Talent 2 must be made to pay the costs of any expenses the taxpayer or any individual teachers have incurred, any less is to let them off the hook.

‘The fact is there was a perfectly good payroll system operating before Novopay came along and National’s attempts to get a bargain basement deal are at the heart of this
whole fiasco. “Of course Novopay needs to be dealt with once and for all – teachers’ deserve nothing less – but they have been put through hell and I doubt they’ll ever forget that,” Mrs Turei said.

Two years on – Novopay continues to suck money from schools – NZEI

It appears the government has earmarked millions of dollars this year for Novopay remedial work, says the NZEI.

rob peter to pay paulCosts associated with payroll services had previously been included in the budget for “Support and Resources for Education Providers”, but in the 2014 Budget, $43.2m has been pulled from that budget to create a dedicated budget line called “Payroll Services”.

This year’s budget also shows that last year $9.2m was diverted from “Support and Resources for Teachers”, plus another $4.348m from other education budget lines to prop up the disastrous payroll system:

$1.025 million from Curriculum Support (p 20 of Supplementary Estimates document)
$1.5 million from the National Study Awards (p 207)
$1.823 million from Primary Education (p 210)
$300,000 from Special Needs Support (p 212)

NZEI Te Riu Roa spokesman Ian Leckie said students and teachers were missing out on resources to support teaching and learning because of a payroll mess that had been going on for two years and appeared to show no signs of improving.

“The ministry needs to fess up and tell us how much of this $43.2m is for normal service charges and how much is for projected cost overruns and fixes. We asked the ministry last week and they haven’t been able to supply an answer,” he said.

Mr Leckie said parents of special needs children would be particularly galled to hear that $300,000 had been scraped out of special needs support to prop up Novopay.

“Special needs education is extremely underfunded and kids are missing out on help that will enable them to succeed at school. Parents and teachers have been calling for more funding. Not only was there nothing for these children in the budget, but the government has quietly siphoned much-needed funds out of the previous budget,” he said.

Meanwhile a report by the Auditor General details the extent of the problems that the school sector faced in completing their 2012/13 audits.  It shows that Novopay has caused significant delays in auditing school accounts and caused an extra $1.5 million in auditing costs.

Ian Leckie says he’s not surprised by the auditor general’s report.

“Novopay is continuing to cause ongoing issues for schools and this is diverting attention away from providing kids with education.”

Novopay changes avoid the actual problem, say NZEI

Many long-suffering school staff will be infuriated by today’s announcement of planned changes to Novopay before immediate issues have been resolved.

NZEI Te Riu Roa spokesman Andrew Casidy said the ministry was trying to paint the front of the house while the back of the house was on fire.

out of order sign“Staff continue to be underpaid, overpaid and unpaid and frustrated at the hours being spent fixing their problems. Resources need to go into fixes and training of service staff now. It’s staggering that $33 million has been spent fixing this system, with another $10 million projected by June, but it’s still a lemon.”

“Just this week, NZEI’s random phone survey of 30 schools found more than 80 per cent of schools having major problems with Novopay. We need immediate solutions to current issues, not ‘planned changes in the next six months,’” he said.

NZEI has been a member of an advisory group giving input to the ministry’s Preferred Service Delivery Model for Novopay. NZEI had previously informed the group that the resources and time spend on devising a future model must be immediately focussed on addressing the problems in the current delivery service.

At this morning’s final meeting of the advisory group, NZEI tabled a document stating that it “cannot support further promotion and resourcing of the ‘Preferred Service Delivery Model’ while there is insufficient focus and resources put into addressing the immediate problems with the current flawed system…Payroll processing has to improve before the sector can engage, not least because the level of frustration and lack of trust at the school level is now at dangerous levels.”

Novopay – patience is fast running out

The Novopay system continues to fail hardworking school support staff, teachers and principals, NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter said today. 

bad computerThe year’s second pay cycle this week left 350 principals underpaid a career step allowance along with reports of multiple other under-payments and errors. 

The year’s first pay cycle earlier this month had a considerably higher error rate than pay cycles last year, which Minister Steven Joyce blamed on data entry errors and the complexity of the school payroll.

However, this week’s principal payment error clearly lies with Novopay and its software systems.

Mr Goulter says the school payroll is no more complex this year than last year.

“The fact is that Novopay is not delivering and causing huge stress especially for school support staff who act as payroll officers.

“No matter how much the Minister promotes self-service on-line and a help desk, the system itself is so flawed that it is causing unprecedented problems, stress, time and money.

“The Ministry of Education cannot be seen as a good employer if this situation continues.  The school workforce has been patient for more than a year, but that patience is fast running out.”


Novopay Protests 5/3/13 – where and when

Below is a list of the protests I know of at this stage.

PLEASE support the protest even if you are being paid correctly.  Your colleagues need to see they are supported – Government need to see we stand together and this needs to be remedies ASAP.

For more details of events, or to ask questions, go to the facebook event page here.

You can check the latest list on the NZEI page, too.


WHANGAREI Phil Heatley MPs office, Deveron St 7am-7.50am
HELENSVILLE/KAIPARA John Key 365 State Highway, Kaipara 7am
NORTH SHORE outside Target Rd School, Target Rd 7am
NORTH SHORE Maggie Barry 15 Anzac Ave, Takapuna 7am
WEST AUCKLAND Paula Bennett 429 Great North Road, Henderson 7am-8am
MANUREWA Cam Calder MP office, 4 Station Rd, Manurewa 7am
TE AWAMUTU Shane Ardern 25 Roach St, Te Awamutu7am 7am
THAMES Scott Simpson MPs office 7.30am
CAMBRIDGE Louise Upston 71 Duke St, Cambridge 7.30am
NAPIER Chris Tremain MPs office, Station Rd, Napier 7.15am
HASTINGS Craig Foss MPs office, King Street, Hastings 715am
NEW PLYMOUTH Jonathon Young MPs office, cnr Gill and Liardet Sts 7.30am-8.15
WHANGANUI Chester Borrows marching through the Avenue to MPs office 3.30pm
GISBORNE Anne Tolley MPs Office 7.15
WAIROA Anne Tolley Wairoa Bridge 7.00-8.00am
WAIRARAPA John Hayes MPs office, 82 Queen St, Masterton 7.15
PARAPARAUMU Nathan Guy 23 Amohia St, Paraparaumu 7.15
PORIRUA Hekia Parata MPs office, 20 Parumoana St, Porirua Central 7.15am
OHARIU Katrina Shanks/Peter Dunne Shanks office, 2 Broderick Rd, Johnsonville, then walking to Dunne’s office 7.15am
UPPER HUTT Trentham Railway Station carpark 7.15
LOWER HUTT Melling Railway Station carpark 7.15
WAINUIOMATA Top of Wainuiomata Hill 7:15
WELLINGTON Chris Finlayson Level 7, 32-43 Kent Tce, Wgtn 7:15
NELSON Nick Smith Waimea: Crossing outside St Pauls/Waimea College 7am
NELSON Nayland: Crossing outside Nayland College, Broadgreen and Nayland Kindergarten
NELSON Nelson City: Crossing outside Hampden St School
CHRISTCHURCH Kate Wilkinson 365 Main Rd, Redwood 7.30am
CHRISTCHURCH Nicky Wagner MPs office 103 Salisbury St 8013 (between Durham and Colombo)
RANGIORA Kate Wilkinson cnr Queen and Percival Sts 7am
TIMARU Jo Goodhew 139 Staford St, Timaru 7am
GORE Bill English Main St 7am
DUNEDIN Michael Woodhouse Mojos, Cnr Princes and Jetty St 7am
INVERCARGILL Eric Roy MPs office, Dee St, Invercargill 7am

I will be at the Porirua one with my wee boy – feel free to come say hello!


5th March – Tell your MP: No more Novopain

 NZEI notice to All primary members and support staff members in secondary schools

Tuesday 5 March event outside MPs’ offices
Next Tuesday (5 March) marks the six month anniversary of Novopay. It’s also the next pay day for school staff.
It’s time to tell our elected representatives that Novopain has gone on too long. After six months of over-pay, under-pay and no-pay to thousands of members in hundreds of schools, the Government has still not shown any urgency or serious commitment to supporting schools and staff suffering huge workloads and facing financial uncertainty. Staffing and service levels at Novopay and the Ministry are still inadequate.
We know Novopay cannot be fixed overnight. But enough is enough.
While NZEI is continuing to look at legal options and engage in good faith with Novopay Minister Stephen Joyce’s sector reference group, it’s clear we need public pressure from NZEI members on local MPs if we are to make any progress in Wellington.
NZEI is asking all members to join together with placards outside Government MP’s office for an hour next Tuesday, March 5, to mark this date. We suggest this event takes place between 7am-8.30am to maximise public support in rush-hour and to be within media deadlines. 

 ImageGovernment MPs (National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future) are obviously the priority. If your local MP(s) are opposition party ones, please hold your picket in a prominent public place instead.  You can still ask your MP to take your message and deliver it to Stephen Joyce face to face in Parliament.

If joining the event is not feasible for you, please consider holding placards outside your school and asking parents to support schools by signing the letter to Stephen Joyce.   And please take the time to email him yourself next Tuesday at with a copy to NZEI at

Take action:

  1. Work with your worksite rep to get all staff together for a meeting and agree your plan for next Tuesday 5 March.
  2. Your local NZEI branch can help coordinate between schools to ensure a good turn out at the same place at the same time. (Email your regional NZEI  for branch contacts). You could also invite your secondary school colleagues to join you.

  3. Download the letter to Stephen Joyce to give your MP here {LINK}. Encourage as many staff and parents to sign it.
  4. Locate your MP’s local office in the phone book or find it here. Ring the MP’s office and let them know you will be hand-delivering a letter on Tuesday 5 March.
  5. Make some placards – “Toot if you support us”, “Novopay – No Pay” – view some photos from Saturday’s silent protest by Hawera and Stratford educators for inspiration if you need it!  Post your own event on Facebook too

  6. Let your local media know where you are going to be and why, and for any support and to let us know your plans so we can get national media attention too.

Visiting your MP’s office on Tuesday is a first step. The letter includes a request for a face-to face meeting so please follow this up in conjunction with your branch. At principal and primary teacher PUMs and support staff leaders’ focus groups in March and April, we will be discussing further collective action to take. Please check out your local PUM and diary it now!

Latest information on Novopay (from NZEI)

dollarsNovopay – What’s Happening?

NZEI is meeting with the Secretary of Education and other stakeholders fortnightly after each pay day. We will update you each pay period via this newsletter and suggest what you can do to help – we need to keep the pressure on the government to make resolution of Novopay a top priority!

The Novopay system is an even bigger mess today than it was last week

NZEI is pushing as hard as possible for the system to be fixed – speedily!

We have demanded a support package for schools be developed that recognises the immediate workload issues, poor resolution processes and stress school staff are facing.

We’re pleased to tell you that yesterday (21 February) the Secretary of Education agreed to work with us to develop an interim package of measures.

There are many things that need to be done and discussions will continue on that long list but responding to your concerns and frustrations, we’ve asked that an immediate package of measures include:

  • setting clear and transparent service standards for the Novopay help desk
  • the Ministry establishing regionally based positions to assist payroll administrators and individuals who are having problems that need urgent fixes
  • an extension on the deadline for school charter reporting
  • free Employee Assistance Programme support
  • a communications package that shows genuine understanding of the difficulties we are all facing and clear and concise information about where to go for assistance and what support can be expected
  • a small one-off financial payment to schools acknowledging the additional stress and the impact Novopay has created.

A swift positive response from the Ministry of Education to these requests would show good will as well as offer practical support for schools. We’ll update you on this as soon as possible.

What you can do
If you’ve been affected by pay problems, help us put pressure on the government to get staffing and service levels at Novopay right. Please email Novopay Minister Stephen Joyce with a copy to NZEI at .   Ask the Minister to ensure that staffing levels are sufficient to make sure payrolls are processed in time from now on.

Get Help
If you have had a serious underpayment and need money, your school should contact the Ministry on 0800 663 772 to request an urgent manual payment. If this is proving difficult to achieve, call 0800 NZEI HELP and we’ll assist you.

Your Board via the principal has a legal obligation to ensure you are not left in difficult financial circumstances. This includes the school making a direct payment to you and claiming it back from the Ministry if usual channels don’t work.

The Novopay BIM – The Dim Post

“TVNZ and Radio New Zealand have done a couple of stories reporting on the leaked Briefing to the Incoming Minister (BIM) which the Ministry of Education supplied to Steven Joyce about the Novopay debacle.

They’ve focused on the Ministry’s warning that Novopay could take 1-2 years to get working properly.

I’ve also received a copy of this document, and I was more interested in the Ministry’s summary of what actually went wrong……”

Read more …

Novopay Y U So Broken

Novopay Y U So Broken


Novopay – full press release from Steven Joyce

Minister gives update on Novopay

Thursday, 31 January 2013, 1:10 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister with responsibility for Novopay 
31 January 2013 Media Statement 
Minister gives update on Novopay

Minister with responsibility for Novopay Steven Joyce today provided an update on Novopay and announced measures to address the situation.

“Novopay is one of the largest payroll systems in Australasia covering approximately 110,000 people and 15 separate collective agreements. After meeting with the key parties involved over the past week, it is clear the issues it has are complex, that there is no quick fix, and problems will continue for some time,” Mr Joyce says.

“Next week’s pay round covers the beginning of the school year and the Ministry of Education and Talent2 are expecting further issues particularly with the start of a new secondary school teachers’ collective agreement.

“I have made it clear to all parties that the on-going issues with Novopay are unacceptable and new measures are being put in place to provide timely solutions.”

The new measures include:

• Conducting a technical audit of the stability of the Novopay system and the data contained in it

o Technical review by Murray Jack of Deloitte, incorporating the results of the audit currently being undertaken by Ernst & Young on behalf of the Ministry of Education and an accelerated audit of a sample of schools.

• Instituting a new Novopay Remediation Plan

o Led by the Novopay Management Board

o Will accelerate software stabilisation, monitoring and enhancements and improve customer service

o Will involve more resources, which the Government will initially provide on a contingency basis while reserving its contractual position with Talent2.

• Undertaking active sector re-engagement

o Led by the acting Secretary of Education and the Ministry of Education

o Will use the Ministry’s regional network to support schools, document their feedback and provide them with more information and training

o Revitalise a reference group, chaired by the acting Secretary, which will include senior members of education sector bodies to ensure on-going sector engagement and input into system enhancements.

• Investigating a revised Contingency Plan

o Led by the acting Secretary of Education who has commenced dialogue with previous supplier, Datacom.

• Establish a Ministerial Inquiry

o Going to Cabinet on Monday

o Intention is for the findings of the Technical Review to be fed into the inquiry, and for the inquiry to cover all aspects of the teacher payroll system from outset to present day.

o More details will follow next week.

“I appreciate the issues with Novopay are hugely frustrating for those affected and I understand the pressures school pay roll staff are under. I can assure them that everything is being done to resolve the issues as quickly as possible,” Mr Joyce says.


Novopay Announcement

Steven Joyce today announced that Novopay will stay.

  • an inquiry will take place – to be will discussed at cabinet on Monday, including who will lead it & terms of reference
  • an audit to take place
  • longer opening hours and extra call centre staff to help deal with issues

No real information given beyond that.  No details of why Novopay get to stay or whether they have been penalised.

I’ll share more as it breaks.

Full press release here.

Novopay Novapain NeverPay Nopay NoJob

Whatever way you look at it, implementation of the new Novopay system has been a seriously flawed debacle.

And with so many school staff still underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all, the Ministry of Education felt this would be a good time to…. no, not pay them… no, not help them,… no, not draft in extra help.  They decided now is a good time to cut 9 of the 23 staff jobs in payroll!


I mean… REALLY!?

Is is just me, or is this starting to look like an episode of Fawlty Towers?

Any minute now, Basil is going to run into the Beehive, shout something about a Siberian rat and then go into a dead faint face first into a Pavlova clutching an empty pay packet.

These staff are most likely working like mad to help sort out the Novopay debacle and help school staff get paid, and right at that very time when they are busiest, giving their all, and quite stressed, the government decides to incentivise them to get things done well by sacking about four fifths of them.

Yeah, that would help.

Maybe I was wrong about Fawlty Towers… I think maybe today’s debacle was brought to you by Sesame Street and the letters


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