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Labour demands compo for teachers hit by Novopay debacle

Published: 6:22AM Thursday November 22, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Labour Party says financial compensation will be the only apology acceptable from the contractor responsible for the Novopay debacle.

School workers around the country have faced pay botch ups since Novopay's introduction three months ago, with some not having been paid at all.

Talent2, the company that has been paid millions to manage New Zealand school workers' payroll, has said sorry for the huge number of mistakes made with the Novopay system.

"I don't think for one minute this hasn't been stressful. We're truly sorry," said John Rawlinson, Talent2 chief executive, who has flown to New Zealand from Sydney to tackle issues with Novopay.

But Labour's education spokesperson, Nanaia Mahuta, says schools deserve more than a belated apology "for the inconvenience" and should be compensated financially for the blunder.

"Teachers and support staff have had a gutsful. They've had months of problems and excuses and some are still waiting for historical errors to be rectified so that they can receive their full pay," Mahuta said in a statement.

"Talent2 has failed to give schools a straight answer on when the system will be fully implemented and working reliably. It's critically important that end of year reconciliations are received so that staff can be paid fully over the Christmas period."

As teachers and staff make their holiday plans in advance, a missed payment will make the difference between "a great or miserable holiday," Mahuta said.

The "teething problems" experienced by schools have been a "nightmare" and the Ministry of Education can no longer rely on the goodwill of principals to carry the real costs of implementation failure, she said.

"The Talent 2 Board should be compensating schools because it is evident that its inability to effectively trial the system prior to the go live date and the failure to present a coherent implementation plan has left teachers, support staff, principals and BOTs [boards of trustees] holding a white elephant."

Compensation will be the only apology acceptable at this stage as the sector has no confidence in "the poorly designed system", Mahuta said.