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Novopay frustration understandable - Joyce

Published: 3:33PM Monday January 28, 2013 Source: Fairfax

Senior Government Minister Steven Joyce has warned that the upcoming school pay round could face significant disruption as he seeks to sort out the Novopay teacher pay debacle.

After a round of meetings with principals and administrators at Wellington schools today, Joyce said next week's pay round would be "challenging".

Joyce was put in charge of fixing the ongoing problems with Novopay in Prime Minister John Key's latest Cabinet reshuffle.

He had wanted to meet schools today "get a sense from the administrators directly involved" what pressures they were facing.

"The difficult news is its going to continue to be challenging and in particular this next pay round, pay period 23, which is due out next week. There are so many new things happening including a new teachers' collective agreement for secondary schools. It's going to be pretty challenging that one I think and i think its going to be difficult for everyone involved."

Joyce said schools and principals were frustrated and he could understand why.

"It is frustrating to see some of the issues they're having to deal with. I think up and down the country there's a bunch of pay roll administrators in schools who are doing a fantastic job well above the call of duty... nobody's happy with that and the challenge is how best we get through it."

He confirmed he had met Novopay provider, Talent2, and said they were "very concerned as well".

He was aware there were a number of "significant" bugs in the system but could not confirm suggestions those bugs may be in the hundreds.

Joyce was reluctant, meanwhile, to expand on the option being considered by government.

Scrapping Talent2's contract is one option but the Government has suggested that is unlikely.

Joyce reiterated that today.

"But I'm not going to rule out any option and I'm not going to rule in any option at this point. I would say there are no options that don't involve some continued pain for a period of time while this gets sorted."