My experience with Novopay has been a deeply fraught, frustrating, and indeed frightening narrative. Qualifying as a PRT in 2012 I began work as a day relief teacher and then ongoing work in fixed term relief positions.
The process of becoming a registered teacher is straightforward and robust, as it should be. The process of becoming a paid teacher is akin to mating elephants. A complicated courting, accompanied by high level squealing and trumpeting and taking nearly 18 months to see any results. Since February 2013 I have either not received the complete amount of money owing to me or the taxation on my earnings has been incorrect.
Teaching is not easy Minister Parata. I reflect constantly if not hourly on how to help all the children and young people that I deal with. I plan and read, I travel 140 kms daily to do this. If I so chose I could qualify to be on a benefit.
Minister Parata, I live in a three bedroom home that belongs to the Ministry of Education, it has no insulation, an open fire for heating. I need a regular and correct salary so that I can move into a warm well heated home so that my children and I do not get sick.
Minister Parata I am doing it by myself .
Minister Parata I have been in the situation where I cannot pay my rent properly, put petrol in my car, go to the doctor, physiotherapist or dentist or buy the shoes I need because Novopay does not pay me properly, or worse still takes money from me unlawfully.
I am running out of energy to fight any more. I have had to threaten to go on a hunger strike in the last year, make constant phone calls and emails and speak to some outstanding idiots at Novopay in an attempt to get my correct pay.
Minister Parata, I am a quintessential kiwi battler, and my needs are very simple.
Minister Parata I do not want to be anxiously waiting for my pay advice every Tuesday, I want to be able to trust that Novopay pays me correctly, taxes me correctly and puts the money in my bank account. Not much to ask for is it?
Can you tell me when this might occur? Why must I use the Union, the press, a hunger strike, embarrassment for this to occur?
When I say that is all I want, that is not completely correct Minister Parata. I am a member of a profession that values education, we recognize the difference it makes in our children’s and young peoples lives. We strive for excellence and success, it is a collective so the things that I want for myself Minister Parata are those that I want for all members of our profession.
I want our principals to be freed up from having to be worried about the ongoing effects that this absolute shameful debacle has on their, teachers, their absolutely essential and just as valuable support staff. I want our executive officers to be freed from the petty mindless bureaucracy that Novopay is and allow them to concentrate on the areas that they really need to. I want our Boards of Trustees to be free from becoming a bank and personal lending institution, I want our creditors to not have to hear I am sorry I can’t pay this week because of Novopay. We don’t want charity Minister Parata, we want justice.
If this was the parliamentary pay system it would be sorted in a day, if not a week.
Minister Parata, it is a disgrace and it reflects on your governance and the National led government's impotence and incompetence.
If your advisers are telling you all is well at Novopay, Minister Parata, and you believe them, then it appears that the emperor really believes that they have new clothes.
This is a guest post from PPTA member Paul Cronin.