Information for boards of trustees

The board of trustees is, by legislation, the employer of the staff at its school. As the employer, the board is responsible for ensuring the effective management of the school, by:

  • delegating the day-to-day management of the school
  • making sure employees receive their correct pay
  • making sure the school keeps good employment and payroll records. See Payroll record keeping.

The board's payroll responsibilities

As the employer, the board must know its payroll responsibilities and how they align with other board responsibilities. This includes ensuring that:

  • staff are employed and remunerated in line with relevant employment agreements and legal obligations
  • public money is being appropriately spent in the payroll, whether this is through the Operational Grant (BG) or through MOE Teachers Salaries (TS)
  • accurate and timely employee, payroll and employer/school information is provided to Novopay (or the Ministry, where specified)
  • all instructions for employees' pay originate from boards or their appropriately delegated members of staff
  • the principal or another delegated person checks that instructions or changes to Novopay have been correctly actioned
  • the Novopay Service Centre and relevant employees (and the Ministry, where relevant) are notified of any errors, and assisted in the resolution of those errors where required
  • employees are notified of payroll matters/changes, and providing advice when requested
  • policy and procedures are in place for managing leave, and leave liabilities are effectively managed. See Leave management.
  • payroll costs from the SUE reports are entered in the school accounting system as a journal entry in a timely manner
  • there is appropriate school IT infrastructure provided for payroll purposes.

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Delegate day-to-day management of the school

It is the board's responsibility to make sure it has processes in place for the tasks it delegates, and that the principal and other delegated staff carry out these tasks as required. This will usually form part of the board's policy framework. Contact NZSTA if you require assistance with this.

As part of the board's policy framework, it will establish delegated management of the school, which will include paying employees. This may include the principal delegating some tasks to staff at the school who administer the payroll.

The board is required to:

  • authorise the principal to be an authorised user of Novopay Online
  • know who is using Novopay Online to change pay. See Online Access/Audit report.
  • have suitable processes set up to control the validity of and access to payroll information.

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Ensure employees are paid correctly

The board is responsible for ensuring that its employees are paid correctly. The board does this by making sure they, the principal, or delegated payroll staff:

  • use the correct employment processes when employing staff
  • use the correct employment agreements, available on the Ministry of Education's website
  • get employment advice from New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA)
  • know their legal responsibilities when using Novopay. See Legislation.
  • ensure that correct information is submitted using Novopay Online or NOVO form. See Fortnightly pay.
  • check payroll reports as soon as they are available.

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Staff Usage and Expenditure (SUE) reports

All payroll instructions for employees must originate from the board or delegated members of staff. Principals and boards are responsible for checking that instructions or changes have been correctly actioned.

After a pay run, Novopay generates a Staff Usage and Expenditure (SUE) report, which details the payments to staff in the pay run. Boards (or the principal, as delegated by the board) must thoroughly check and monitor each SUE report to ensure that salary and wage instructions are correct.

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Ensure the school keeps good records

The board is responsible for making sure it keeps good employment and payroll records to meet legal and audit requirements. Boards do this by:

  • ensuring good record-keeping processes are in place
  • making sure their principal and payroll staff know the law about keeping records.

See Payroll record keeping.

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The board's role as the principal's employer

Novopay Online does not allow any users at a school to alter a principal's salary details. The board of trustees or the Ministry will send instructions regarding the principal's salary directly to Novopay.

Other payroll instructions for principals must be submitted via a form to the Novopay Service Centre. If a form requires a signature, a duly delegated member of the board must sign the form. For more information, see Completing NOVO forms.

Related links

Novopay Online Administration Requirements for Boards and Principals (PDF, 1.14 MB)

Frequently asked questions:

EDUCATION.govt.nz website:

Ministry of Education website:

Other websites:

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