Pay glitch spoils teachers’ Christmas

Hundreds of NSW teachers, including many in the Illawarra, have had to make it through Christmas without their end-of-year pay packet, after a mistake in schools’ payroll systems.Casual teachers at about 100 NSW schools have been without the money owed to them for their last weeks of work this month.The Department of Education and Communities confirmed it had received about 300 claims from casual teachers who were not paid last Friday as expected.One casual teacher, at a southern Illawarra school, told the Mercury she contacted the department’s emergency payroll phone number and heard the response ‘‘not another one’’, as evidence grew that the problem was widespread.‘‘It’s all of it - the whole pre-Christmas pay that should have arrived on Friday,’’ the teacher said.‘‘I think that’s pretty gruesome.’’Education Department spokesman Mark Davis yesterday said full-time and permanent part-time teachers had been paid on time and staff were working on the payroll problem for casuals.‘‘After paying more than 18,000 casual teachers statewide, just before Christmas, the department has received approximately 300 claims from casual teachers saying they have not received their wages,’’ he said. ‘‘The claims involve approximately 100 schools across NSW.‘‘At least one-third of these claims have been verified and will be paid within the next 24 hours, with the department verifying the remainder as quickly as possible.’’The problem seemed to be that school principals had failed to properly authorise casual teachers’ time sheets before themselves going on holidays.‘‘We’ll be reminding principals of the need to put the paperwork in on time,’’ Mr Davis said.‘‘Obviously it is to be regretted that teachers aren’t being paid for the work they’ve done.’’The Illawarra teacher said while the problem should be sorted out soon, banks could take days to clear the money once it arrived from the payroll office.

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