FOR THE ATTENTION OF BOARDS OF GOVERNORS AND PRINCIPALS OF ALL GRANT-AIDED SCHOOLS
You will be aware that there have been a number of issues recently regarding the implementation of a new NISTR system and the timely payment of temporary teachers. The Department and the Education Authority (EA) continue to work together intensively, alongside stakeholder groups, to ensure that immediate steps are taken to ensure staff are paid as a matter of urgency.
In the current exceptional circumstances, particularly in light of the cost of living crisis, the Minister has asked the EA to process interim emergency payments to all of the individual teachers impacted and, if any subsequent adjustments are necessary, these will be made within future payrolls when the bookings are included in the file.
You may be aware that a number of teachers received only partial salary on 18 October due to administrative errors in the payroll file extracted from the NISTR system. These bookings were approved by schools and salary payments should have been paid under normal circumstances. The EA sincerely apologises for this error and is working to process interim payments for the 309 affected teachers as a matter of urgency. It is anticipated that they will receive payment by 25 October.
School Level Approval
One of the factors that has caused problems in the timely payment of temporary teachers relates to the fact that the appropriate approval processes at school level were not completed in line with the payroll deadline. This prevented payment being made on the planned date for an estimated 300 teachers. It is incumbent on us all to work together to ensure that employment commitments are honoured, and our staff are remunerated for their service on the scheduled date.
At the deadline for this month’s payroll, some teachers had bookings with outstanding employer approval for payment (not inputted to the NISTR system and/or not signed off/approved by the school employer) and consequently did not receive their salary payments.
The EA will contact any school for whom they have received a retrospective booking to confirm attendance and other necessary sign-off information to facilitate an interim, emergency payment. Schools will also be asked for clarity around bookings in hours and minutes to confirm payment. Your expedient response to such enquiries is essential to enable further interim emergency payments to be pursued.
There is no system impediment that we are aware of to prevent schools from signing-off outstanding bookings. Schools are therefore requested to take immediate action to review their bookings on the NISTR system and sign off bookings to assist in ensuring that urgent payments can be facilitated.
To ensure that no teacher is financially disadvantaged during the current cost of living crisis, further interim emergency payments will be considered up until Christmas as appropriate. This will be kept under close review. It is imperative that schools, as the employer of this vital part of our workforce, input and sign off the bookings in line with agreed procedures and payroll deadlines. For next month’s payroll the deadline is 3 November.
Your ongoing assistance with this matter is critical. Please do not hesitate to contact the NISTR Helpline 028 9056 6256 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, if you require any assistance with the new system or are experiencing any other difficulties.
Seamus Wade Gary Fair
EA Director of Finance and ICT DE Finance Director