SFA E-zine – The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

 

Welcome to this week's edition of our SFA e-zine. 

 

In this week’s update, we have a case about a personal injury claim and an employee’s responsibilities to take reasonable care. In this article you will learn what the employee’s obligations are under the Safety, Health and Welfare Act.

 

Despite our protests, the government is set to increase minimum wage in the near future to €9.80. The SFA has deemed this unacceptable when small firms are struggling with other rising costs. Read the article to see some of the SFA efforts to stop the increase.

 

This is the last chance to book a spot for the SFA Diversity webinar tomorrow at noon. The Irish workforce has changed significantly in the last twenty years. We can see this diversity in small businesses up and down the country whereby people of all walks of life work together. This webinar will give you a brief overview of what is diversity, what does it look like and how it can be strengthened within your business.

 

Ireland’s competitiveness is under threat according to the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) due to an over-reliance on a small number of highly productive exporting companies. Read the article for a full report regarding the risks of an over-reliance on a single sector of the economy.

 

As part of SFA Affinity, each week we are highlighting some of the amazing offers available to

members. This week we have the spotlight on Law Online – an online legal document service.  

 

Enterprise Ireland is offering a new tool, the export scorecard, to help small business assess their own competitiveness in international markets. Read the article to find out more about the tool and try it out for yourself.  

 

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

 


SFA IN THE MEDIA
SFA budget 2019 submission
 
  • Minimum Wage

The SFA issued a press release this week regarded minimum wage stating, "Costs for small businesses are already shooting up. Government should not add fuel to the fire by imposing a further increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW). We cannot repeat the mistakes of the recent past by allowing costs to get out of control in times of economic growth."

 

The SFA’s views were covered in a range of media:

NEWS
Employee loses personal injury claim – did not take reasonable care
 

An employee made a personal injury claim but they lost the case as they did not take reasonable care of their own safety. Read on to learn what the employee’s obligations are under the Safety, Health and Welfare Act…


In the case of Edward O’Connor vs Wexford County Council, the employee took a personal injury claim under the Safety, Health and Welfare Act against their employer. Mr O’Connor was a water inspector and one of his tasks was to check the water levels of the reservoir on a daily basis. This involved lifting up a manhole in a grassy area. On 6 February 2011, Mr O’Connor claimed that he slipped down a steep grassy bank and injured his back after he completed the daily check. The grass was wet that day. He claimed that this was an unsafe system of work despite the availability of a safer access route to the manhole which was only 10-15 metres away.

 

The judge weighed up the evidence from both sides and dismissed the employee’s claim. He concluded that common sense applies in this case as the work involved was not “complex or specialised” and he added that the “plaintiff did not take reasonable care for his own safety by using the steep incline to access the manhole when there was a flat route a modest distance away”.

 

Whilst employers are expected to provide a safe working environment under the Safety, Health and Welfare Act, the Act also details a list of requirements that the employee should undertake in ensuring they take reasonable care within the workplace. These are that the employee must:

 

  • Comply and co-operate with their employer with all relevant statutory provisions under the Safety, Health and Welfare Act
  • Take reasonable care to protect their own safety and that of others who might be affected by their acts and omissions
  • Ensure they are not under the influence of an intoxicant or in such a state that they might be a danger to themselves or others. In addition, submit to reasonable, appropriate testing if reasonably required by the employer. This must be carried out under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner. The employer may prevent an employee from working if it is apparent that the employee could be a danger to themselves or others. We recommend that two people in the business witness and assess if this is the case.
  • Not engage in any improper conduct or dangerous behaviour
  • Attend training and undergo such assessment as may be necessary
  • Make correct use of any article or substance provided for use for the protection of the employee, including the use or wearing of protective clothing and equipment
  • Report to his or her employer as soon as practicable if any work being carried out might endanger themselves or others
  • Report any defects in the workplace including any articles or substance that might endanger themselves or others
  • Report any contravention of the relevant health and safety statutory provisions that they are aware of
  • Notify the employer or the employer’s nominated registered practitioner if they become aware that they are suffering from any disease or physical or mental impairment which affects their performance of work activities that could give rise to risks to the safety, health and welfare of persons at work

 

In addition, under the Act, the employee cannot:

 

  • Misrepresent themselves to an employer in relation to their level of training
  • Interfere, misuse or damage anything provided for the safety, health and welfare of employees
  • Place at risk the safety, health and welfare of persons in connection with work activities

 

The SFA website has a dedicated section on health and safety which you can view here or if you have a specific health and safety issue that you would like to discuss please contact Helen Quinn on helen.quinn@sfa.ie or 01 605 1668.

Minimum wage likely to rise to €9.80/hour despite small business concerns
 

Last week, the Low Pay Commission issued its recommendation for the minimum wage for 2019, proposing a 25c per hour increase to €9.80 per hour. SFA deemed this unacceptable when small firms are struggling with other rising costs.


Last week, the Low Pay Commission issued its recommendation for the minimum wage for 2019, proposing a 25c per hour increase to €9.80 per hour. The recommendation was accepted by Cabinet and is due to be introduced from 1 January 2019.

 

This increase comes despite the concerns of the small business community, whose costs are already rising on many fronts. The Small Firms Association outlined its objections to any increase in a full written submission to the Low Pay Commission in February.

 

SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, issued a media release two-days before the Low Pay Commission report, highlighting that increases under the Commission have already added over €20,000 to the annual wage bill of a small employer with 10 minimum wage employees.

 

The SFA’s views were covered in a range of media:

A second short press release responding to the €9.80 recommendation can be found here.

Ireland’s competitiveness is under threat
 

In its recently published Competitiveness Scorecard 2018 for Ireland, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) finds that while the economic outlook for Ireland appears positive, Ireland’s competitiveness is under threat. The sustainability of growth is threatened by the reliance of the economy on a small number of highly productive exporting companies


In its recently published Competitiveness Scorecard 2018 for Ireland, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) finds that while the economic outlook for Ireland appears positive, Ireland’s competitiveness is under threat. The sustainability of growth is threatened by the reliance of the economy on a small number of highly productive exporting companies. The globalised nature of the economy makes Ireland susceptible to negative economic shocks, which are outside the influence of domestic policymakers. Global economic uncertainty, particularly in trade policy, has increased in 2018. Along with continued ambiguity regarding the outcome of Brexit, external factors as ever pose a serious risk.

 

Domestically, fast growth is beginning to manifest itself in cost pressures and capacity constraints and if not addressed, these deficiencies could become more acute in the short term. As the economy continues to grow, ensuring our economic model is competitive, balanced and resilient to shocks takes on even more significance. It is important that we do not loosen fiscal discipline (i.e. unsustainable current expenditure increases or shrinking tax ratios) at this stage as this would undo much of the progress achieved to date and would have potentially significant negative implications for future competitiveness. It is vital that a careful balance is struck between addressing weaknesses and deficiencies in infrastructure and implementing policy in a manner which does not contribute to overheating or unbalancing the economy.

 

Cost competitiveness is critical for an economy like Ireland’s. While cost and price pressure have been modest in recent years, Ireland remains a relatively expensive country in which to live and work. As the economy continues to grow, cost pressures are evident in key areas – particularly in relation to property, labour costs, credit and services prices, where Ireland performs below competitor countries. With the labour market likely to tighten further, upward pressures on labour costs can be expected in several sectors and across occupations. Measures to encourage labour force participation can help alleviate labour cost pressure. Increasing productivity, particularly in the SMEs sector, is also vital.

 

The full report can be downloaded here.

SFA Affinity Scheme spotlight on..........
 

Law Online can help you save 20% on all legal documents you need drafted for your small business. 


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). To avail of this discount enter SFA00X in the voucher code box on LawOnline’s checkout page. 

All documents drafted on LawOnline can, optionally, be sent to the LawOnline solicitors to be reviewed 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.

 

If your small business is in need of legal documents then Law Online is the perfect solution for you. 

Exporter development – ‘prepare to export scorecard’
 

Successful business planning involves assessing your strengths and weaknesses under six business pillars and determining where you need to enhance your capability to compete in international markets. Are you clear what your offering is, who you are offering it to and how you will generate sustainable export revenues?


Enterprise Ireland is responsible for supporting prospective and emerging exporters to build company scale and expand their reach. The Exporter Development Department works with companies considering exporting as a platform for scaling through their client engagement model.

 

Enterprise Ireland is looking to engage with small businesses to support them in fulfilling their global ambitions. To support companies in assessing export capability, they have developed an online export preparedness scorecard to help companies to determine their capability to develop and implement an export led business plan.

 

Selling overseas is a key opportunity for many Irish businesses to scale. For companies to achieve their global ambition, it is critical that they put a business plan in place. Preparation is key if you are to achieve sustained success in export markets.

 

According to Enterprise Ireland, “Your business plan should be built on an understanding of your target markets and underpinned by market research. The business planning process will involve you identifying your unique value proposition - what differentiates you clearly from your competitors. Successful business planning involves assessing your strengths and weaknesses under six business pillars and determining where you need to enhance your capability to compete in international markets. Are you clear what your offering is, who you are offering it to and how you will generate sustainable export revenues?”

 

Critical to any Business Plan is the identification and management of risk. Understanding uncertainties that could impact on your business should form part of your export planning. This is particularly important in times of uncertainty and change.

 

Country and political risk are important to consider, as companies now turn to more challenging territories, their risk management strategies should be adapted accordingly.

 

To try the export scorecard for yourself, check out their link here

EVENTS
Embracing diversity webinar
 
  • 25 July, 12pm, Webinar

The Irish workforce has changed significantly in the last twenty years. It unveils a more diverse workforce that spans across gender, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and age. We can see this diversity in small businesses up and down the country whereby people of all walks of life work together.

This webinar will give you a brief overview of what is diversity, what does it look like and how it can be strengthened within your business.

Then we will look at two areas of diversity that is increasing and how your business can create a more integrated workforce in relation to:

  • Understanding and integrating transgender employees
  • Creating a collaborative culture amongst different nationalities

We will share practical tips on how businesses can encourage a diverse workplace that recognises everyone is different and how to navigate those differences in a respectful and dignified manner for everyone.

The webinar will take place on 25 July at 12noon and will last about thirty minutes. If you would like to join us for this session please click here.

For all queries on the event, please call the event organiser:
Gillian O'Keefe, Tel: +353 1 605 1664

SFA Employment Law Conference Cork
 
  • 26 September 2018,  Rochestown Park Hotel

Event details

SFA Employment Law Conference Cork- 26 September 2018

Date: 26th September 2018
Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Duration: 1 Day
Venue: Rochestown Park Hotel
Address: Rochestown Rd,
Douglas,
Co. Cork

Welcome address and WRC update

  • A year on – what impact has it had
  • Key changes
  • Challenges

Contracts

  • Best practice
  • Future of casual contracts & proposed banded hours
  • Legislation and contracts for service / gig economy

Probation and performance

  • The importance of managing the performance of new employees
  • Holding regular review meetings
  • Case law

All about absence

  • Why measurement is important
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Job solutions
  • The cost of absence to the employer
  • The role of the line manager
  • Mental illness and absence
  • Returning to work after a period of absence
  • Understand the current laws and case law in the area of absence management

5,4,3,2,1 – Top issues for 2018: Using case law and legal developments for

  • A case study on a sexual harassment issue
  • GDPR and the human element – a case of a rogue employee
  • The do’s and don’ts of managing workplace stress
  • Intoxicants in the workplace - a tale of two cases
  • Do you need an extreme weather policy?

Discipline and dismissal – an interactive session

  • Discipline – the process
  • The conversation – what to say and how to say it
  • Legislation in this area

Retirement

  • Pros and cons...4 ways to manage longer working

For all queries on the event, please call the event organiser:
Quelba Lima, Tel: +353 1 605 1619

SFA Employment Law Conference Dublin
 
  • 10 October 2018, Herbert Park Hotel

Event details

SFA Employment Law Conference Dublin - 10 October 2018

Welcome address and WRC update

  • A year on – what impact has it had
  • Key changes
  • Challenges

Contracts

  • Best practice
  • Future of casual contracts & proposed banded hours
  • Legislation and contracts for service / gig economy

Probation and performance

  • The importance of managing the performance of new employees
  • Holding regular review meetings
  • Case law

All about absence

  • Why measurement is important
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Job solutions
  • The cost of absence to the employer
  • The role of the line manager
  • Mental illness and absence
  • Returning to work after a period of absence
  • Understand the current laws and case law in the area of absence management

5,4,3,2,1 – Top issues for 2018: Using case law and legal developments for

  • A case study on a sexual harassment issue
  • GDPR and the human element – a case of a rogue employee
  • The do’s and don’ts of managing workplace stress
  • Intoxicants in the workplace - a tale of two cases
  • Do you need an extreme weather policy?

Discipline and dismissal – an interactive session

  • Discipline – the process
  • The conversation – what to say and how to say it
  • Legislation in this area

Retirement

  • Pros and cons....4 ways to manage longer working

For all queries on the event, please call the event organiser:
Quelba Lima, Tel: +353 1 605 1619

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.


Committed to protecting the data of our staff and customers

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.

Benefits of 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 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

For further information or to book a place, please contact raquel.delapena@ibec.ie or 01 605 1667