Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Novopay - or Nevapay!!

The Novopay issue has gone from bad to laughable to worse and the crystal ball is not looking favourably towards a resolution in this coming pay week. 

Google Novopay (go on, I dare you) and you will see endless complaints and news stories on this debarcle.  Thanks Campbell Live for taking up the cause for so many people who have been stuffed around by Novopay.

Novopay has a near $30 million contract with the Ministry of Education to service the payroll of the education sector.  So who does this pay roll cover?
  • primary and intermediate teachers
  • secondary teachers
  • kindergarten teachers
  • principals at secondary, primary, intermediate and middle schools
  • support staff (e.g. office administrators, teacher aides, librarians, science lab assistants, etc...)
  • cleaning staff and caretaker staff employed directly by schools
  • resource teachers (e.g. RTLB, RTLit....)
  • special education workers (e.g. speech language therapists, physiotherapists.....)
  • relief teachers in all sectors
There are over 120,000 people on this payroll at any one time and all of these professionals have had cases of their pay being affected.  Many of these people are the sole bread winners of their families.  All of these people would have bills to pay, even mortgages and/or loans to service.  A bit hard though when you are not getting paid.

Who is Novopay?  Novopay is a payroll company owned by Talent2 Global who state:

Talent2 multiplies the power and productivity of people. We are the leading HR BPO organisation in the Asia Pacific region, working with clients across diverse organisation types and industries to deliver end-to-end talent management solutions that put people first.

When you go to their website, click on the payroll section and then view the page regarding their stories of success with clients, New Zealand's education payroll does not feature (as at 2:29pm 11/11/12).  I guess with the list of problems outlined briefly below, it doesn't quite feature success, in fact, one could say that Novopay is WELL BELOW the standard!

So what are the common complaints we have been hearing about Novopay in regards to being paid, or not being paid:
  • not being paid
  • being paid too much
  • being paid too little
  • being paid when you are not supposed to be being paid (i.e. while on leave)
  • being paid one cent more or less than you are supposed to be
  • not having payments made to third parties (i.e. Kiwisaver and superannuation schemes - one wonders if our tax payments are being made, or student loan repayments)
  • Not being paid for part days (apparently this isn't something their system can do)
Then there are the pay slips themselves:
  • no prior notification in regards to the password needed to open it (have you noticed you still need the password even after you have saved the PDF to your own computer to open your payslip?  I'm finding this very irritating and inconvenient!).
  • The lack of information as to which days you have been paid for if you are a reliever.
Then there are the other wee inconveniences:
  • MOE numbers have changed when people changed schools or came back from leave.
  • Employment history such as qualifications, payscales, sick leave, years of service wiped due to either the change of MOE numbers or sheer incompetence in the system.
  • The fact that if you need to check what you have already inputted for the fortnigh, there is no click on button in the website to do this (I tried to help the admin lady at my school find it - no luck)
  • The fact that they have stuffed up most part-time employees' pay because their system didn't accept part days!
Talent 2 has had at least four years to get their Novopay system up and running.  They got the contract in 2008!  According to this editorial in the Dominion, Novopay have asked repeatedly for delays to their system coming online so they could iron out the bugs and ''to ensure we introduce a payroll system that pays every staff member the right amount, on time, every time''.  Tui ad anyone?

There was no testing the system properly before it went online.  Infact, earlier this year, Novopay asked their start time to be deferred until into 2013, but the MOE refused this request.  Who is responsible?  Well, let's see, who is in charge of the MOE?  Lesley Longstone.  Again Lesley fails to meet the standard as this directly falls under her sphere of influence.  For more information, read Kelvin Smythe's blog.

Schools are now sending invoices to the MOE to request reimbursement for the extreme amount of staff hours now spent on sorting out payroll stuff ups by Novopay.  Auckland principals are refusing to implement MOE policy until the stuff ups stop and are sorted.  Some people, mainly support staff, have stopped going to work - how can you run a car to go to work if you have no money because you haven't been paid?  Many people have run up credit card debt, defaulted on loan and/or mortgage payments, paid their bills late - if at all - and incurred penalty fees.  Should they bare the brunt of this when it was outside of their control, when previously they had been paid properly and on time?

So as I write this blog, on the eve of another pay day, keeping an eye on the chat about Novopay on Facebook and Twitter, I can tell you that a number of people have not received their payslips for tomorrow, that some have received a payslip and found errors, and some have lost hope in being paid tomorrow.

Three months into the actual implementation and Novopay have not met the standard.

Who will take responsibility?  Will it be a lacky at Novopay?  What about Talent2?  Will Lesley Longstone take responsibility?  Or will some lacky further down the MOE food chain be sacrificed?  Does the buck stop with Craig Foss or Hekia Parata?

I don't see this situation being resolved anytime soon.  With End Of Year pays and changes of staff in the New Year, I see a whole lot more problems in my crystal ball when it comes to Novopay for the education profession, the MOE and Novopay.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Bullshit John Key says....

This morning I watched John Key on Breakfast (TV1) because Rawdon Christie said that the Prime Minister would be on to discuss the backout of Kyoto by his government and the Novopay debarcle.

Check it out here:  http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/john-key-kyoto-protocol-backdown-video-5209695

Predictably, John Key defended the decision to have Associate Education Minister Craig Foss deal with Novopay.  Predictably he cited commercial sensitivity when questioned about the sanctions Novopay and its parent company Talent2 would face if the issues are not fixed by the Wednesday deadline Mr Foss has set.  (By the way, don't hold your breath on that one; our admin lady has already picked up the same set of errors for our cleaner/caretaker position that we've had for the last three months!)

Craig Foss has come under some intense scrutiny by the opposition in parliament over the Novopay debarcle.  Nanaia Mahuta (Labour Education spokesperson) has called for Hekia Parata to step in and solve the issue herself.  The NZEI has called for a public inquiry into the Novopay debarcle.  However, John Key claims that Mr Foss is doing a great job with this issue he has been delegated, and that it is actually Novopay at fault, that it is Novopay who is responsible for fixing the issues.

John claimed that the previous payroll provider (Datacom/Multiserve) couldn't carry on as their system was breaking down.  Well, that is news to administrators and principals in schools about the country I am sure!!  The lovely admin lady at our school scoffed at the PM's assertion.  She has been in the job for ten years or so at our school, and she has never had a headache with the payroll like she has had with it since Novopay went online.  Even the fact that she is an administrator at a neighbouring school as well put Novopay in a complete spin!!  She dreads pay week now!

John Key tried to claim that there are many intricacies in teachers' pay.  Yes, there are some extra allowances, units, etc., but Novopay don't know their percentages, fractions and decimals because one of their biggest problems in paying people is the fact they don't seem to be able to process people who work part time or relieve for part days.  So I guess they fail the numeracy standard.

Between 5:38-6:20 in the Breakfast interview, John Key valiantly tries to defend Hekia Parata as the Minister of Education.  He made this very true statement: "Quite frankly if you put any of the twenty of us in Cabinet into that portfolio we'd face just the same issues."

Well Mr Key, let me put it in simple words even you can understand:  Your Minister of Education, regardless of who they are, will be passionately opposed by the education sectors while they continue to push forward policies that are detrimental to New Zealand's quality public education system, best practise, sound research and what is best for children!!!!!

"A well organised opposition" is what Mr Key said has been mounted against Hekia Parata - again here he speaks the truth.  We are a well organised opposition because we have good practise and research on our side.  Parents want what is best for their children - and they are increasingly aware that NACT policy is not in the best interests of their children.

In regards to Kyoto, I have to say I am very disappointed that New Zealand will not be participating.  It seems that John Key and his government do not value the clean green 100% pure image we have spent a fortune on advertising to the world for the last decade or more.  "We are a tiny, tiny part of world emissions..." says John Key - yes we are, but we need to make sure our tiny, tiny part of world emissions is dealt to.  If we don't do our bit, how can we expect to exert influence over growing industrial nations like India and China to get them to decrease their emissions?

So that really is just the bullshit that John Key said today.