Friday, October 19, 2012

On Teacher's Pay

I got an email from a friend , Mr, CK, today and asked him if I could throw it up on the blog. But just before we get to that, a bit of background.

A few months ago New Zealand's biggest payroll changed providers. Teachers and administrators everywhere were driven to tears, yelling at the sky and so forth and so on, as the transition didn't go nearly as smoothly as one might hope. Of course, this went all very quietly until Campbell Live, TV 3's puff piece show (as opposed to TV 3 News which specialises in puff pieces interjected with some ... shock and horror ... news), did a story on it. The matter is serious enough that I thought that it really should have gotten decent billing on the news but there you go. If it's not Kim Dot Com, it isn't a story. Of course, it wasn't an issue until the media got hold of it, which is a tradition, or an old charter, or something. So Mr C.K.'s post:

So, teachers, twitter hashtag competition time?  How about:
  • @lessthan100stuffups 
  • or: @whatsupwithteachersalaries 
  • or: @whenwillIgetpaid
  • @spareadollar
  • @nomorepay [my personal fave] 

What should be the prize for the most popular suggestion? A CD of Für Elise (Nevyn Edit: The song played over and over and over again while waiting so speak to someone at Novapay. I had the same situation with the song "Cheek to Cheek" - which I always liked to replace the word "Heaven" with "Nevyn". It get's very disturbing from that point on).

It seems fairly ironic teachers get a hard time about mispronouncing children's names, when the MOE spokesperson is happy to mislead, misinform and misrepresent the facts surrounding this situation and cherrypick data to suit their stated postion.

Does this sound familiar?

"One in Five children are failing at school" used to justify introducing National Standards

"89,000 people paid successfully over the past three pay cycles" "...It's not acceptable and I have mechignisms (sic) in place to basically ensure those people are paid properly so, I am genuinely surprised we haven't heard from them." [Leanne Gibson on behalf of the Ministry of Education] 
Of course you haven't, they are probably still on hold trying to talk to someone about it. (Another Nevyn edit - actually... Novopay deals with Novopay problems. Give it a go - ring up the MOE and try to voice some concerns about Novopay. What's the bet you get given a phone number to call? A phone number that plays Fur Elise).

Speaking of which, I was deleted from the system at end of July/first week of August. Wondered why I got such a big pay that week? Turns out it was my holiday pay. I had just been terminated and paid out. Fortunately our Principal is a man of principle and totally supports his staff when in difficulty, so I was paid by the school from their own budget. MEANWHILE Our School Financial officer spent most of HER holidays attempting to rectify the situation, along with other problems caused by this system.

I filled out an application to be put back on the system again. Horah! Success!, ah wait... no payslip, so what was I paid? It seems I was now an unqualified uncertified teacher with a new MOE number, on my second stint of teaching employment [despite having been at the same job since starting in 2006] - worth around 50% of my "previous" (normal, expected) pay. Hmmmm.... After much phoning, emailing, angry enlightenment of the Novopay staff she, our ever so patient and persevering School Financial Officer, has finally got me reinstated at my previous pay rate as of the 16th of October. However still without my original MOE number. What this means for my sick leave etc. I shudder to think. Not having had a sick day for 2 years I hope it hasn't evaporated. But not being displayed on the payslip now who could know? (Nevyn Edit: Have you gotten a payslip since then?). So, a question or two for the spokesperson. [Please reply via John Campbell] 
  • How many staff on the National Education sector payroll?
  • How many paid correctly each pay cycle Since August 1?
  • How many phone calls to Novopay asking for payroll mistakes to be corrected, [people not paid, overpaid, or dropped from the system]? I assume you log these calls "for training purposes" ?
  • How many emails asking the same? 
  • As for the idea 89,000 paid correctly out of 110,000 and not one of the 21,000 was bothered enough to tell you'?  (Nevyn Edit: No really - try calling the MOE about Novopay).
Please try harder, I have better tellers of fibs in my class, and they are only 9 years old.  Consider yourself INFORMED.

Another teacher I know was forced to take on part time cleaning work in order to buy groceries as a result of the mistakes and double deductions from her pay over the same period of time. Add in all the penalty fees, unauthorised overdraft charges, missed auto payment dishonnor fees etc. generated by all the teaching staff in New Zealand affected by this, and the unnecessary stress placed on people, and I believe there should be a very big PUBLIC APOLOGY coming from the person with the ultimate responsibility for all this. With adequate reimbursement. And an apple for the teacher! (No not the one Snow White got!)

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