Two months after Steven Joyce was brought in to fix the failing Novopay system, the problems are getting worse not better. Over the weekend we found out that hundreds of teachers have been unilaterally given the sack by the government’s payroll provider. That news came as a shock to them and to the schools they’re employed by. It’s a total disgrace.
This latest shambles follows news last week that Novopay provider Talent2 was using debt collectors to recover money from those who had been overpaid. It’s shocking that with thousands of people still being overpaid, underpaid and not paid at all, the government deemed this heavy-handed approach acceptable. Responsibility for this mess now rests with Steven Joyce. He either didn’t ask what steps Talent2 were taking to recover the overpaid money, in which case he is incompetent, or he signed it off, in which case he shows absolutely no understanding of the extent of the Novopay debacle.
Steven Joyce speaks of technical reviews and long-term solutions, but he needs to urgently deal with the massive problems Novopay is causing in schools right now. Despite seven months of chaos, schools still aren’t being compensated for all the extra work and stress Novopay is causing. I’ve had reports of schools taking on extra staff just to deal with payroll issues, not hiring relieving teachers when someone is sick because they don’t have the funds left, and cancelling equipment orders because they aren’t confident they’ll be able to pay for them. Yet still Steven Joyce does nothing.
Of course we need a long-term solution, but Steven Joyce can’t keep turning a blind eye to the turmoil Novopay is causing in the meantime. A comprehensive remediation and compensation package is long overdue. It’s time ‘Mr Fix-it” delivered one.