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Holidays Act Remediation: How we are managing payroll data as part of the project.

December 2022 

As part of the remediation process, we are currently working with our payroll provider and Holidays Act remediation partner to better understand the payroll data and begin our process of calculations for all employees.

With 11,440 current and former Hawke’s Bay employees who were employed between 1 May 2010 and 30 June 2022, this is no small task, but we are making significant progress and we have great data to work with.

To help you learn more about the project, the project team wanted to make you aware of the way we have extracted and cleansed data with the help of our payroll provider and Holidays Act remediation partner.

Ensuring we have secure information exchange for calculations

Hawke’s Bay District payroll data is held within our payroll provider’s Cloud environment. This is a secure environment, designed from the ground up to align with the New Zealand Information Security Manual; the New Zealand Government’s manual on information assurance and information systems security. It is regularly tested, with robust operational procedures and regular staff training ensuring security is maintained.  

The process for our payroll provider to provide data from this system to the Hawke’s Bay District’s remediation partner has been as follows:

  1. The required payroll data is securely extracted from a database as an ‘extract’, to a secured server within the payroll providers’ network.
  2. The ‘extract’ is zipped with a secure password.
  3. The ‘extract’ is then uploaded to our remediation partners secure site, via a secure transfer protocol, and the password provided via encrypted text message to our remediation partner.
  4. Once completed, the ‘extract’ held on the payroll providers server is immediately deleted.

All files uploaded to our remediation partner’s secure environment are loaded using encryption, with all information encrypted when it is sent between parties. Documents are encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standards and this applies to all devices used as part of this process.

In addition, our remediation partner also has safeguards in place to maintain the security and privacy of information provided to them. This includes encryption (previously referenced), anti-virus and malware, access management, and strict authentication procedures.

Both our payroll provider and remediation partner have invested in all required security applications to achieve the required levels of compliance to satisfy the project’s quality assurance framework, with these protocols and compliance levels having been discussed with union members at the project’s Working Group meetings.

Looking for gaps in the data

From detailed analysis and reporting, it is the opinion of our remediation partner that Hawke’s Bay has a sufficiently complete and reliable set of data to undertake remediation activities. The data provided to them sufficiently identifies all employees during the relevant period, categorises them appropriately and allows for testing to be performed to assess the extent of underpayments.

The framework document we are following specifies five “data cleansing and testing” requirements related to data, with 30 related testing requirements. We have followed all the testing procedures to satisfy the requirements, and completed additional, detailed reporting on the procedures performed, the testing undertaken, and where a testing procedure might have failed, we have detailed the method to fix the identified issue.

What has greatly helped are a couple of points that are very good for data completeness and accuracy of the calculations we’ll be undertaking:

  1. Changes to the system configuration and employment profiles are recorded (across all areas), meaning recalculation back through time can be done accurately and changes in configuration can be seen which will help explain/validate any underpayments.
  2. All payments made, are tied to a particular day, meaning calculations defined at a daily level can be accurately performed without assumptions.

By following a detailed process when extracting and cleansing payroll data, the work to rectify our payroll system has become a lot clearer, along with helping us outline the necessary steps required to ensure that calculations for all employees are accurate, detailed, and aligned to the national process.

For more information on this process, contact your union member or email.  

Media on Holidays Act Remediation Programmes.

You may have read information in the media about our Holidays Act Remediation Programme.  The information is in response to an OIA request asking for a breakdown of spend on consultants working on the programme.  

In total, Te Whatu Ora has paid approx. $25 million to professional services project support across all programmes and to the date the projects: 

  • have carried out an in-depth review of the payrolls  
  • have identified areas of non-compliance 
  • are working with payroll providers to reconfigure payroll systems 
  • are identifying the policies and processes which need changing to ensure future compliance, and 
  • are calculating if the payments made to staff for leave are accurate. This requires a line-by-line review of leave payments made to the 270,000 current and former employees who are covered by the work.

This is a mammoth task. Health is one of New Zealand’s largest workforces and this is a significant body of work, with an estimated 270,000 current and historic employees covered by Holidays Act remediation projects, and more than 20 payroll and rostering systems impacted. 

Although there is no set date for the completion of work of this scale, all projects should either have made a payment or be on the pathway to make a payment by 30 June 2023 for staff who are current on the payroll in the weeks before the payment is made. Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand is committed to ensuring all its employees receive accurate leave entitlements in the future and paying any monies owing as soon as possible. 

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