FAQ for Essex schools affected by payroll issue

Essex County Council HQ in Chelmsford. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Essex County Council HQ in Chelmsford. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy taylor

Around 20,000 Essex school staff have been hit by payroll delays. Essex County Council have released the below FAQ, saying: “We are extremely sorry this error has happened and a full investigation has been launched to understand why it happened and to make sure it never happens again.”

Why haven’t I been paid this month?

One of Essex County Council’s internal processes failed which has resulted in payroll being run too late to reach bank accounts on Friday 25 August. There is a further complication around it being a bank holiday weekend so salaries will not reach bank accounts until Tuesday 29 August.

Why can’t you make an urgent payment to everyone affected today (Friday 25 August)

This option was looked at immediately but unfortunately due to the number of employees affected we cannot make a blanket payment. We can process individual payments in cases of hardship however.

What employees been affected by this?

The failure in one of our internal processes has affected around 20,000 school employees out of a total of 35,000.

• List of all 308 Essex schools affected.

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What are you doing about it?

As soon as the delay was identified we checked our processes and have recognised where the error occurred. This process is being immediately reviewed to ensure it never happens again.

How could this have happened?

We are now looking into this urgently. A full investigation has been launched to understand why it happened and to make sure it never happens again. I can’t say any more now until the investigation is over.

I have standing orders / direct debits that normally leave my account on payday (26th); I am worried these will not be paid?

As your payday this month (26th) falls on a non-working day (Saturday), banks usually schedule standing orders to go out on the next working day which in this case will be Tuesday 29 August.

As your pay will reach your bank account on Tuesday 29 August this should not affect any standing orders you have.

I have a scheduled payment due to leave my account today (Friday 25 August), this will leave my account overdrawn as I haven’t been paid. What are you going to do about it?

If you have incurred a financial penalty directly as a result of this delay in your pay being in your bank account, you can write to us attaching evidence of this (online banking screenshot or letter showing a penalty is being charged to you). We will assess each case individually and respond to you as soon as possible.

Will you refund my overdraft charge/other payment charge?

If you have incurred a financial penalty directly as a result of this delay in your pay being in your bank account, you can write to us attaching evidence of this (online banking screenshot or letter showing a penalty is being charged to you). We will assess each case individually and respond to you as soon as possible.

I want to know I will definitely be paid on Tuesday and my pay will be correct.

Yes, you will be paid in full on Tuesday. The error made the payment late but the rest of the payroll timetable progressed normally so your pay will be correct. If your pay is not correct, please contact us again and it will be looked into urgently.

Will this affect my pay in future months?

No, this will not affect your pay in future months and your September pay will be correct.

The council’s payroll team will be on hand to offer information and advice from 8.30am to 4.30pm today. The number is: 03330 135 859.

Yesterday. Essex’s NUT general secretary Jerry Glazier said: “Younger teachers who may well be right on the limit could find themselves in difficulty across the bank holiday weekend.

“This is a potentially a big problem.

“The fundamental point is that some teachers and other employees are likely to find themselves in a overdraft situation and I would expect the authority to reimburse legitimate costs that occur as a result.

“Any additional charges levied should be reimbursed by the payroll provider.

“That is what I will be expecting and will be checking with the council.”

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “We are extremely sorry that this error happened and we have launched a full investigation to understand why it occurred and ensure it does not happen again.

“We will offer all the help, support and advice we are able to provide to affected schools employees tomorrow and will have a team standing by to deal with calls.

“Because the actual pay date for affected employees is Saturday, August 26 standing orders and direct debits due then should be processed on Tuesday after the bank holiday, but we will be able to advise schools employees with any concerns they may have.”

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