Details of hundreds leaked in Novopay privacy breach

A warning on the Novopay website (Newshub.)
A warning on the Novopay website (Newshub.)

Just when teachers thought Novopay was fixed, the troubled school payroll provider has been hit with fresh complaints of privacy breaches.

The company running Novopay has admitted staff and salary details had been shared with the wrong schools when staff logged on to the system to check payroll details.

At 9am this morning, 2500 schools were able to log on to the system.

An hour later, schools were told there was an issue. Two hours after that Novopay told schools the payroll reports had been taken down and if they had downloaded or created hard copies - to delete and destroy them.

That potentially means the 552 individuals who logged on when the reports were live could have seen salary details of another school.

Leyette Callister is one of those concerned other people have her details.

She is the principal of Howick Primary School - although apparently not according to Novopay.

When her secretary looked at the payroll this morning - he couldn't see her name.

"We, on the front page of the two parts of the SUE summary had received another school's information. So right there he could see the principal's salary and all of the salaries for that school."

 She's afraid her details have gone elsewhere too.

"I feel nervous about information that is going around in the stratosphere but also that really, the system is not fixed," Ms Callister says.

And no one including Education Minister Hekia Parata knows exactly how widespread it could be.

"Absolutely agree it's serious and it will be treated seriously and I expect there will be a response from the experts."

Steven Joyce is the minister responsible for Novopay and he says the details of 10 schools were made available. That means the details of hundreds of staff members could have been compromised.

"I have sought and expect a full investigation by the company as to how this error occurred," Steven Joyce said in a statement.

"It is particularly frustrating as it comes after a long period of stability in the payroll service."

New Zealand Educational Institute National Secretary Paul Goulter says this is yet another Novopay shambles that puts individuals' privacy at risk.

"It's major and as anyone will tell you, one breach of privacy is one breach too many."

But more than the privacy breach - this brings back nightmares for Mrs Callister.

"The hours and the days and the stress and the tears of all [of the last payroll issue] and I hate to think it's coming back again."