SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to this week's SFA e-zine.  

 

If you haven't already booked your place at this year's SFA Annual Lunch I encourage you to join us this Friday (16 November) in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin. Our keynote speaker, David McWilliams will examine how small businesses have contributed to the success of the Irish economy.

 

In this week's ezine, we discuss a high profile case in the labour court who recommended a €90k award to a hotel manager dismissed on probation. We outline a three-step process to ensure your business uses fair procedures when managing a probationary issue.

 

Find out more about the SFA appearance before the Seanad Public Consultation Committee to exam the issue of fostering and sustaining the Irish small and medium-sized business sector. We link to the latest Ibec Quarterly Economic Outlook which forecasts strong growth. We provide information on the Going for Growth programme which is currently seeking ambitious female entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business.

 

Tune into our next SFA webinar on 20 November which will discuss the nationwide skills gaps in the Irish manufacturing sector. Also note 13 December in your diary for the SFA Christmas Members Evening

 

As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.

 

Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director


NEWS
Last chance to attend the SFA Annual Lunch 2018
 

Don't miss out on attending this year's SFA Annual Lunch taking place this Friday. Our keynote speaker, David McWilliams will examine how small businesses have contributed to the success of the Irish economy... 


We are delighted to announce David McWilliams economist, author, journalist, documentary-maker and broadcaster will address this year's SFA Annual Lunch on Friday, 16 November at 12.30pm in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin.  

 

David is ranked 10th most influential economist in the world. He has devoted his entire professional life to the objective of making economics as widely available and easily understandable on as many platforms and to as many people as possible –and is having a laugh doing it.

 

On Friday, David will speak about his new book Renaissance Nation the story of how the Pope’s Children rewrote the rules for Ireland. In four decades, bookended by the visits of the pope in September 1979 and August 2018, Ireland has managed to become one of the wealthiest and most progressive nations in the world. At the event David will examine how small businesses have contributed to this success.

 

The SFA Annual Lunch, sponsored by Bank of Ireland is the perfect opportunity to bring together your guests, special customers, clients and valued employees. We would be delighted to see you there. 

Book your place today and join over 500 guests, including small business owner-managers, politicians, senior government officials and media for the biggest business lunch of the year for small business.

 

For any queries please contract Claire Gilroy, at claire.gilroy@ibec.ie or 01 605 1528.

We look forward to welcoming you to this important event supporting the small business community.

Labour court recommends €90k to hotel manager who was dismissed on probation
 

A high profile case hit the headlines recently whereby a hotel manager was unfairly dismissed during their probation. Use our three-step process to ensure your business uses fair procedures when managing a probationary issue...


There is a misconception that no fair procedures or process is required when managing a problem employee during their probationary period. Some businesses mistakenly believe that they can say to an employee that it is not working out and ask that employee to leave with immediate effect and without informing them of the reasons for the dismissal or give them the opportunity to improve.

 

In the recent Labour Court case Beechside Company Limited T/A Park Hotel Kenmare vs A Worker the employee was hired in January 2018 as a general manager on a three year contract and they had relocated from Dublin to Kenmare. On 27 April he was dismissed without warning when he was informed that “it was not working out”. He took a case under the Industrial Relations Act claiming he was unfairly dismissed. The Labour Court heard both sides and made a recommendation that the employer pay the employee €90K.

 

The Labour Court made this recommendation based on the following:

  • The employee was not informed of any performance issues throughout his time with the hotel
  • He was not given any warning that his role was in jeopardy
  • He was not afforded the right to representation
  • He was not given a reason for his dismissal
  • He was not afforded the right to reply.

The Labour Court noted that the employee “was not afforded fair procedures in accordance with the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures S.I. No. 146 of 2000,” and whilst they accept that a business has the right not to retain an employee during the probationary period, the Court stated that “this can only be carried out where the employer adheres strictly to fair procedures.”

 

How can businesses ensure they follow fair procedures when managing a problem employee during probation and avoid a claim under the Industrial Relations Act or potential a claim under the Equality Act?

 

The first step is to hold regular review meetings. These could be a mixture of weekly or bi-weekly informal chats and formal review meetings that could be held on month one, month three and prior to the probationary period ending. The benefits of these meetings are:

  1. They will help you assess the employee’s performance and how they work with the rest of the team
  2. To address any conduct or absence issues
  3. To minimise the risk of an employee passing their probation without any review meetings.

If the employee is not working out, we have a recommended three step process that follows fair procedures without having to use the full disciplinary process. These are:

 

Stage 1-The ‘needs to improve’ stage

  • Employee is invited to a formal probationary review based on any performance/conduct/attendance issues
  • Ideally to be initiated if informal meetings show an area which needs improvement
  • Documentation given in advance
  • Right to representation (may decide against this at this point)
  • Timeline for improvement determined (ideally 1 month)

Option – Consider extending the probation if needed. Ensure you have a clause that allows you to extend the probationary period

 

Stage 2-The ‘at risk’ stage

  • Employee’s performance/conduct/attendance has not improved by the agreed date
  • Second formal probationary review initiated
  • Documentation given in advance
  • Right to representation
  • **KEYWORD-AT RISK - Employee must be aware that their continuation of employment is at risk/at risk of not passing their probation
  • Revised timeline for improvement determined (ideally 1 month)

Option 1: Extend probation and/or

Option 2: Formal warning

 

Stage 3- The ‘final’ stage

  • Employee’s performance/conduct/attendance has once again not improved by the agreed date
  • Third probationary review initiated
  • Documentation given in advance
  • Right to representation

Option 1: Further warning and extend probation (based on individual circumstances) and/or

Option 2: Terminate employment

  • Right to appeal termination

If you have concerns about an employee on probation and would like further advice please contact Helen at SFA on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit our HR and Employment Law advice section on www.sfa.ie.

 

 

 

Statement to the Seanad Public Consultation Committee
 

Earlier today, the Small Firms Association appeared before the Seanad Public Consultation Committee to exam the issue of fostering and sustaining the Irish small and medium-sized business sector...  


Earlier today, the Small Firms Association appeared before the Seanad Public Consultation Committee to exam the issue of fostering and sustaining the Irish small and medium-sized business sector. Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director and Rebecca Harrison, Owner and Managing Director of Fishers in Newtownmountkennedy presented on behalf of SFA members. In August, the SFA made a submission to the Committee highlighting that there are many State supports for small firms but, from an owner-manager’s perspective, the environment is fragmented, confusing and inconsistent. Our submission reiterated the association's call for a national Small Business Strategy. It also outlined specific public policy recommendations in the areas of tax and the cost of doing business. A full copy of the submission is available here.

 

Information about the Seanad Public Consultation Committee and previous presentations can be viewed here.

New Ibec Quarterly Outlook forecasts strong growth
 

Ibec has recently published its latest Quarterly Economic Outlook Q3 2018, which forecasts strong growth of 4.5% in 2019 following growth of 7.8% in 2018. The 2019 growth forecast, however, is based on the assumption that an agreement is reached on Brexit...


Ibec has recently published its latest Quarterly Economic Outlook Q3 2018, which forecasts strong growth of 4.5% in 2019 following growth of 7.8% in 2018. The 2019 growth forecast, however, is based on the assumption that an agreement is reached on Brexit. If this does not happen there is a risk of severe disruption across almost all areas of the economy with knock-on downside risks for our forecasts. Already we are beginning to see company margins squeezed by the depreciation of sterling and softening confidence impacting on investment in the most Brexit exposed sectors. In the absence of a Brexit deal, the growing uncertainty will cause these trends to intensify during 2019.

Despite the positive overall economic backdrop, Ibec analysis suggests that during 2019 we will increasingly approach a late stage in the business cycle globally. At home we are already seeing signs of the type of competitiveness loss which eroded previous periods of sustainable growth. If this is left unchecked, it has the potential to slow growth over the coming years and leave Ireland very exposed in the event of ongoing global trade turbulence or a future global downturn. 

You can download the Ibec Economic Outlook here.

Call for ambitious female entrepreneurs who want to scale their businesses
 

Are you a female entrepreneur who is serious about growing your business? Find out more about the Going for Growth programme...


The call is open for ambitious female entrepreneurs who are looking to scale their businesses to join the latest cycle of Going for Growth, the award-winning business development programme.

 

Going for Growth is a six-month part-time programme, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, which assists ambitious female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth aspirations.

 

The programme is seeking applications from female entrepreneurs – across all sectors – who are strongly focused on growth. Ideally, businesses should be well established and trading for at least two years. (Eligibility criteria applies).

 

Sixty places will be available for this 11th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2019 and the deadline for applications is Wednesday, 28 November. There is no charge for those selected. Anyone interested is encouraged to register their interest in receiving an application form here

EVENTS
SFA Annual Lunch 2018
 
  • 16 November
  • Mansion House

The SFA Annual Lunch is the highlight of the small business calendar. It is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that small businesses make to the Irish economy and society.

David McWilliams economist, author, journalist, documentary-maker and broadcaster will address this year's event as our keynote speaker. David is Adjunct Professor of Global Economics at the School of Business Trinity College Dublin and is ranked 10th most influential economist in the world.

 

The SFA Annual Lunch 2018 is the perfect opportunity to bring together your invited guests, special customers, clients and valued employees to kick off the festive season.

  • Date: Friday, 16 November 2018
  • Time: 12:30pm - 4pm
  • Venue: The Round Room, The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2

Join over 500 guests, including small business owner-managers, politicians, senior government officials and media for the biggest business lunch of the year for small business.

Book your table online now. For any queries please contract Claire Gilroy, at claire.gilroy@ibec.ie or 01 605 1528. 

SFA Webinar: Irish manufacturing sector
 
  • 20 November
  • Online

The Irish manufacturing sector continues to expand in 2018 with 59 consecutive months of growth.

 

However, Bank of Ireland research shows significant nationwide skills gaps for Irish manufacturing SMEs. Tune in on Tuesday, 20 November at 10:30am for a 30 minute webinar which will delve into this research:

  • More SMEs are hiring than those reducing headcount so Irish companies are struggling to find staff however acquisition of new staff is the largest future HR challenge among manufacturing SMEs
  • Hiring a skilled workforce a key challenge for 4 out of 10 Irish manufacturing SMEs
  • Skills gaps are most apparent in marketing, production and sales however as the company grows in size the technical roles (R&D, quality, engineering & maintenance) become the more significant skill gaps
  • Outside of Dublin, retention of production staff is a real challenge for more than one in three
  • 41% do not regard investing in training as valuable.

Register online now for this webinar

Save the date: Member Christmas evening
 
  • 13 December
  • SFA offices, Dublin

We will be hosting our annual members Christmas evening on Thursday 13 December in the SFA offices 84-86 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2 from 6pm.  

 

We hope you can all make it. Keep an eye out for the official invitation over the coming weeks. 

 

TRAINING PROGRAMMES
Online GDPR training
 

Enrol your staff and managers on our newly designed online GDPR programme to ensure your staff are informed of their obligations under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and GDPR...


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a ground breaking piece of data protection legislation, which came into force on 25 May 2018, has a significant impact on all organisations, as it enhances the data protection rights of employees, imposes specific obligations on employers and introduces severe financial penalties for non-compliance.

Enrol your staff and managers on our newly designed online GDPR programme to ensure your staff are informed of their obligations under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and GDPR.

Benefits on online training:

  • Accessible
  • Cost effective
  • Scalable

This course will provide participants with the knowledge to:

    • Describe personal information and data subject rights 
    • Define consent 
    • Explain the role of the Data Protection Commission, Data Controller, Data Processor and the Data Protection Officer 
    • Determine accountability 
    • Conduct breach management and outline our role in the prevention of breaches 
    • Outline data subject access requests 
    • Understand the issue of privacy and its implications

Cost: €70 per license  

Key features

  • 30 minute duration
  • Interactive exercises
  • Short assessment
  • Certificate of completion

Consent:

This programme has been designed in conjunction with Dillon Production. Participant name(s) and email address(es) will be forwarded to Dillion Production for the sole purposes of setting up the login for this programme. If you are making a booking on behalf of someone else, please ensure you have obtained their consent to share their contact information (name and email address).

Book online now or contact the event organiser Raquel de la Pena Sarrion with any queries on raquel.delapena@ibec.ie or on 01 605 1667.