SOME contract teachers and teacher's aides are still waiting on their first pay cheque, two-and-a-half weeks after returning to work.
The Education Department has told staff who complained about the delay that it was caused by a significant backlog in contracts.
Australian Education Union Tasmanian president Terry Polglase said the union had been contacted by seven teachers or teacher's aides who were yet to receive any wages this year - more than have ever reported the problem before.
Mr Polglase said the delay was very stressful for contract teachers, most of whom have been without pay since the start of the summer holidays. The Examiner understands that some teachers have been told they won't get paid until next week.
Department secretary Andrew Finch said none of the department's 9000 permanent staff were affected by the delay, and only a small number of its 1000 temporary staff had reported a problem.
Mr Polglase said the delay could cost the department a significant amount in penalty rates if it was not resolved soon.
Under the Teaching Service Award, teachers must be paid fortnightly and any delay in pay must be rectified within two days.
If it is not, the teacher receives a bonus of 50 per cent of their daily wage for every additional day that passes without them being paid.
Mr Finch said the pay details for temporary or relief staff who began work at the start of the school year had to be processed at the start of the year, and that could result in "issues" depending on "the number and nature of appointments being made".
"The department is mindful that staff have financial commitments and needs and therefore an immediate offline payment (outside of the normal fortnightly payments) is available and this has already occurred for some staff," he said.
But Mr Polglase said contract staff were often not notified that they had the job until the week before school resumed, and that the department should be used to receiving an influx of paperwork at the start of the school year.
Opposition education spokesman Michael Ferguson called on the government to resolve the issue immediately.
"It is unacceptable that while Education Minister Nick McKim is on holidays there are hardworking teachers and teacher assistants who three weeks into the school year have not yet been paid," Mr Ferguson said.
"The Labor-Green government has gutted education and it is teachers and students who repeatedly are paying the price."