SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.

 

In this edition, we discuss the the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 which recently came into effect. It both extends the number of weeks for parental leave and the age threshold of the child.

 

In advance of 31 October, the SFA wants to ensure that members are prepared for Brexit. In this issue we advise members on the essential actions you can take now to ensure that you will still be able to trade with the UK after it leaves the EU.

 

Do your employees drive for work? There are a series of upcoming seminars from the Health and Safety Authority, Road Safety Authority and An Garda Siochana to educate employers on safe driving for work.

 

Irish Water have announced new business charges that will apply to both business customers and mixed-use customers who use water services for both business and domestic purposes that will come into effect on 1 May 2020.

 

Draft a range of highly bespoke legal documents through the SFA Affinity offer from LawOnline at a discount of 20% for SFA members.

 

The SFA Employment Law Conference is taking place in Limerick on 3 October and in Dublin on 10 October. We are delighted to announce we will have a representative from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) who will discuss what to expect at a WRC inspection. Bookings are now open for the SFA Annual Lunch on 15 November, book your place today. 

 

Facebook are hosting an event on 6 September open to SFA members, 'Level Up' is a FREE workshop and program created by minority employees at Facebook for minority-owned businesses. A free one-stop-shop event for SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs, ‘Taking Care of Business’, is taking place on 2 October, in Athlone. The SFA will have a stand at this event and is looking forward to meeting members at it.

 

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
New changes for parental leave
 

On 19 July the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 came into effect. It both extends the number of weeks for parental leave and the age threshold of the child. Read on to learn more about these changes….


The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 came into effect on 19 July and it increases the number of weeks each parent can avail of and the age threshold of the child. The changes are as follows:

  • Each parent now qualifies for 22 weeks parental leave from 1 September 2019. They can apply for the leave now and the leave can commence from 1 September 2019.
  • The age threshold of the child has increased from eight years to 12 years. The age threshold has remained at 16 years for a child with a disability.

The result of these changes means that parents who have used some or all of their parental leave by the time the child reached eight years of age have now come back into scope. This means that those parents are now entitled to take the extra and/or additional parental leave in one week blocks. This new change applies to the following scenarios:

  • Employees who took all of their 18 weeks parental leave before their child reached 8 years are now back in scope due to the increased age threshold.
  • Employees who took some of their parental leave but did not use all of their entitlement before the child reached eight years can now take those outstanding weeks plus the additional weeks before the child reaches 12 years of age.

Parents who have never taken any parental leave are entitled to take the parental leave as follows:

  • a continuous block of 22 weeks
  • two separate periods of a minimum of six weeks each. If the leave is taken in this manner there must be at least ten weeks between each separate period of leave taken
  • With the agreement of the employer the parental leave may be broken into hours or days

The amount of parental leave will increase to 26 weeks on 1 September in 2020. The SFA guideline on parental leave and force majeure has been updated to reflect these changes and businesses can download the sample parental leave policy here.

 

In addition to this new change, from 1 November 2019, the new Parental Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 will come into force. This is a paid type of leave that will give each parent two weeks paid parental leave that must be taken within the first year of the child’s life. The government have stated they will extend this leave to seven weeks by 2021. The increases will be announced in the budget. The payment for this leave is €245 per week and it will be paid for by the State.

 

The main points from the new bill are that:

  • Each parent will be entitled to the leave where the birth date of the child falls on or after 1 November 2019 or the day of placement in the case of adoption if it is on or after 1 November 2019.
  • An employee must have 12 months continuous service to qualify.
  • The leave cannot be transferred between parents except in the case where one parent dies then all or the remaining leave is transferred to the other parent.
  • The parental leave operates on a use it or lose it basis.
  • The parental leave cannot be taken before the date of birth or in the case of adoption, before the date of placement.
  • Employees can take the leave in one week blocks.
  • It is protected leave so employees accrue annual leave and public holiday entitlements and all their other conditions of employment remain the same when they return to work.
  • The employee must give their employer a minimum of four weeks written notice of their intention to take this leave (This notice period may change).

We will be discussing these changes in depth at the SFA Employment Law Seminar on 3 October in Limerick and 17 October in Dublin. Book your place before 31 August and avail of our early bird rate.

Ensure you can still trade with the UK after Brexit
 

In advance of 31 October the SFA wants to ensure that members are prepared for Brexit. In this issue we advise members on the essential actions you can take now to ensure that you will still be able to trade with the UK after it leaves the EU...


The recently launched Brexit Preparedness Checklist identifies key actions that firms can take in advance of 31 October to help them prepared for Brexit. 

 

If you trade with the United Kingdom post-Brexit, the rules of trade with a non-European Union country will apply. Members should immediately consult Revenue guidance, to ensure  goods continue to move through the UK after 31 October.

 

If you are trading in goods to or from the UK, an Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI) is required to be entered on a customs declaration. To register for an EORI number go to the Revenue Online Service.

 

An Online Customs Insights course is also available to help businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit world. The course will give learners a firm understanding of customs, the implications for their business and the options from Revenue that are available to make the customs process more efficient.

 

The Quick Brexit Guide for Business seeks to answer many of the questions that Irish businesses may have when assessing their exposure to Brexit and determining the best course of action to mitigate their likely Brexit-related difficulties.

 

If you have a specific query in relation to Brexit and customs matters, please email brexitqueries@revenue.ie  with the relevant details.

 

Please contact Elizabeth Bowen, SFA Senior Executive at elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie or 01 605 1626 with any queries you may have on Brexit.

HSA training events on safe driving driving for employees
 

Do your employees drive for work? There are a series of seminars from the Health and Safety Authority, Road Safety Authority and An Garda Siochana to educate employers on safe driving for work...


Did you know that people who drive for work are 40% more likely than other drivers to be involved in a collision? If your business would like to improve its road safety training for employees that drive as part of their work, then come along to one of the free training seminars.

 

In October this year, the Road Safety Authority, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and An Garda Siochana are hosting a series of free half day morning seminars around the country. The aim of these seminars is to inform employers and owner-managers how to implement safe driving for work practices. Other companies will share their case study examples on how they effectively manage driving for work. The seminars will be held in Galway, Dublin and Cork. Book your place now.

 

The Driving for Work website which is developed by the HSA has a wealth of resources on safe driving practices that businesses can implement for their employees. It includes a number of presentation videos, employer guidelines on driving for work, an information sheet, a safe driving sample policy and risk assessment checklist forms. 

 

For more information on health and safety visit the SFA advice section on health and safety. If you have a specific query, contact SFA Executive, Helen Quinn at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or on 01 605 1668.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New water charges for businesses
 

Irish Water have announced new business charges that will apply to both business customers and mixed-use customers who use water services for both business and domestic purposes that will come into effect on 1 May 2020...


The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) recently finalised its decision on the Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework. Within the next few weeks Irish Water will be communicating with water users and customers to clarify this new information. It is important to note that new changes come into effect on 1 May 2020.

 

The decision covers:

  • The design of the new price structure
  • A review of the costs of serving the business community
  • How its planned to gradually transition business customers to the new framework over time

Key changes published

  • National Charges as opposed to individual Local Authority charges
  • Charges which reflect the actual costs of providing water services to the business sector
  • Increases or decreases in charges for business customers depending on current charges
  • Transitional arrangements to ensure bill changes are implemented fairly and with time to plan ahead
  • Four separate tariff classes for metered connections: Bands 1 - 4

Who is affected

 

The new business charges will apply to both business customers and mixed-use customers who use water services for both business and domestic purposes. Irish Water’s analysis indicates that 83% of connections will see their annual bill decrease, stay the same, or increase by less than €250. Only 17% of connections will see their bill rise by €250 or more.

 

How will the changes be managed?

  • Transitioning customers - changes don’t come into effect until 1 May 2020
  • Irish Water to apply the new enduring tariffs to customers whose annual bill is expected to decrease or increase by no more than €250 from 1 May 2020
  • Customers facing an increase in their annual bill from €250 to €750 will transition to their enduring tariff rates over three years from 1 May 2020
  • For customers that are estimated to face an increase in their bill of €750 or greater, Irish Water is to automatically apply a 10% cap to their annual bill over three years starting from 1 May 2020. Customers can opt-out of receiving this cap.

To ensure your business is fully prepared for this transition, take advantage of advice on the Irish Water Website as well as a comprehensive Tariff Calculator.

 

It has been a warm summer and with that, the SFA encourages members to continue to be conscious about your water usage in both your homes and your businesses. By practicing water conservation, you save your business money on tariffs while also contributing to a much-needed cause. To learn more about water conservation visit the Irish Water website

Need a legal document for your business? Take advantage of our Affinity Scheme offer
 

Draft a range of highly bespoke legal documents through the SFA Affinity offer from LawOnline at a discount of 20% for SFA members...


SFA members can draft a range of highly bespoke legal documents on LawOnline at a discount of 20% (all prices are fixed and include VAT).


All documents drafted on LawOnline can, optionally, be sent to LawOnline’s solicitors for review for added reassurance that the document is fit for purpose. 

The drafting process is straightforward – just answer the questions and LawOnline drafts your document. 

LawOnline enables the drafting of over 175 legal documents across such law areas as Employment, Debt Recovery, E-commerce, Non-disclosure, Powers of Attorney, Company Formation, Landlord and Tenant, Wills, Family Law etc.

See these links to some examples:

Find out more about the Affinity scheme and how to access the discount on our website

 

The SFA Affinity scheme is another perk of SFA membership and allows you to save money, build your brand and drive sales.

  • SFA members can get additional benefits and discounts across a range of products and services such as insurance, utilities, web design, professional services, GDPR services and much more. Browse all the offers
  • SFA / Ibec members can also promote offers to our wide network of members. This helps build your brand within the small business community and in turn drives sales. Contact info@sfa.ie if you are interested in advertising on the affinity platform.
EVENTS
SFA Employment Law Conference
 
  • Limerick - 3 October
  • Dublin - 10 October

Navigating the maze of employment law

 

The rise and complexity in the Irish employment law landscape is increasing year on year. This is particularly challenging for small business owners who are time poor and wear multiple hats within their company. So how can small businesses navigate the maze of employment law and be confident that they are complying with their obligations to their staff? The SFA employment law seminar is the solution.

 

In 2018 and 2019 there has been a raft of employment law from changes to contracts, the introduction of banded hours and increases in parental leave. The SFA employment law seminar will take you through the recent changes within contracts, how to determine the status of a genuine self-employed person and the proposed changes in parental leave.

 

We will also cover bullying and harassment, work related stress case, as well as the dos and don’ts of disciplinaries and dismissals.

 

The one day seminar is taking place in Limerick on 3 October and in Dublin on 10 October. Tickets costs €210 +VAT for SFA members and €295 +VAT for non-members. 

 

Agenda

 

Contracts 

  • Practical examples in action
  • Self-employment

Bullying and Harassment 

  • Table top exercise in a bullying case
  • One or two case law

Work related stress

 

OHS/Long working hours panel

  • Key learnings
  • Top things recognised

Family Leave

  • Parental Leave- Increased parental leave
  • Benefit Act

Discipline and Dismissal (Do/Donts)

  • Case studies- Practical
  • Role play

Book your place at the Limerick event or the Dublin event today. 

Bookings now open: SFA Annual Lunch 2019
 
  • 15 November

We are pleased to announce the SFA Annual Lunch, kindly sponsored by Bank of Ireland will take place on Friday, 15 November in The Round Room, The Mansion House, Dublin. Bookings are now open, book your place now

 

This event will gather SFA members, policy makers and stakeholders and it is an excellent opportunity for you, your colleagues, clients and guests to network in a relaxed environment. The guest speaker will be announced shortly. We hope that you can join for this great social event and kick off the festive season.  

 

Level Up by Facebook
 
  • 6 September

Facebook Dublin is hosting Level Up, a FREE workshop and program created by minority employees at Facebook for minority-owned business and organisations. Level Up's mission is to accelerate the economic success and impact of minority-owned businesses, organisations, and creators.

 

The full-day workshop teaches business owners how to grow and thrive while using Facebook advertising products in the most optimal ways for their business objectives. Specifically the focuses are on (1) how to craft a compelling story about your businesses, (2) how to build compelling creative to capture target audiences, and (3) how to create and run Facebook ads to grow your businesses. In addition, businesses will receive 1:1 coaching throughout the day.

 

Event details & RSVP

Additional information

  • Who: Small to medium business enterprises or non-profit organisations serving these communities in the Dublin area.
  • Business Type: Small businesses
  • Level of Expertise: No advertising experience required, but you must be familiar with Facebook and have a Facebook business page
  • Cost: Free!
Taking Care of Business
 
  • 2 October

A free one-stop-shop event for SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs, ‘Taking Care of Business’, will take place on Wednesday, 2nd October, in the Sheraton Hotel, Gleeson Street, Athlone. This half-day event is for those who own or manage a small business or are thinking of starting a new business.

 

A range of State offices, agencies and services will give short presentations and will have staff on hand at exhibition stands to answer questions about key regulations and what assistance is available to your business. Areas covered will include:

  • Tax, employment and Health & Safety obligations
  • Legal requirements for setting up and running your business
  • Supports from enterprise agencies

The half-day event will be opened by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, who will give a keynote speech, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD will also attend and speak at the event. Information stands will be open throughout, allowing you to speak informally with staff from each of the bodies attending.

 

The Small Firms Association will have a stand at this event and is looking forward to meeting members at it.

 

To find out more about this unique event, and to register, please visit www.takingcareofbusiness.ie. Attendance is free but early booking is strongly advised as numbers are limited.

 

This Government of Ireland event is organised by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.