Ministry wants $2.5 million Novopay debt cleared

By Taroi Black

Debt collectors could be chasing over 2000 school teachers around the country to reclaim money they were overpaid when the payroll system switched to Novopay.

The Ministry of Education says teachers owe around $2.5 million dollars and it wants the debt cleared as soon as possible but they say they can’t put a timeframe on it. “Further work will be done on this group as has happened with the others who have already repaid or are currently making repayments,” says Kim Shannon, Head of the Education Infrastructure Service.

A school teacher from Te Wharekura o Ruatoki claims problems with Novopay have been ongoing since it was implemented in August 2012.

Alana Burney claims she was overpaid by $1000. But she says two weeks later Novopay took out 70% of her pay cheque.

She says “There should be payment plans rather than deducting.”

However according to the Ministry, payment plans are available and some teachers are paying back the minimum of $5.00 a fortnight.

The Ministry says 1000 school staff started to make repayments at the beginning of this month. Some of them have made a lump sum, but for those making repayments the amounts vary.

School teachers are being encouraged to ensure there is an arrangement in place that fits their own financial circumstances.

“It’s not the responsibility of schools to find former employees if there were overpayments. That’s done by Education Payroll Ltd with support from the Ministry of Education,” says Kim Shannon.