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Essex commits to full probe after system failure leaves 20,000 without pay

A local authority has committed to undertaking a full investigation after an internal payroll process failure left almost 60% of its school employees without their salaries last week.

Essex County Council said in a statement that around 20,000 school staff from a total of 35,000 were not paid on Friday as intended, which left the authority in a frenzy – having to deal with more than a thousand enquiries by lunchtime that day and making circa 100 emergency hardship payments.

The affected employees will be paid today instead, but Essex has promised to investigate the issue fully to determine the cause behind the failure.

It has also been in touch with the major banks and UK Finance, the representative association for banks and building societies, who told the council that it will treat each case on its merits.

Everyone affected by the issue – which impacted around 308 schools – was told to contact the council’s payroll team and will receive a full written apology. Compensation is also available if staff incurred any extra bank charges over the extended weekend.

“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,” said Cllr Louise McKinlay, Cabinet member for resources.

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

“Because the actual pay date for affected employees is Saturday 26 August, 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.”

(Top image c. ShaunWilkinson)


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