Welcome to the April News Update
 
Dear Member

Covered in this month's edition of the SFA News Update we inform you about our up and coming SFA National Annual Conference 2015 "Boost", which is taking place on the 10th June in The Clyde Court Hotel.  It is a must day out for every small business owner. 

We inform you about signing up to be a Prompt Payer, how Electronic Payroll payments need to be made early for the May Bank Holiday Weekend and the need to Start Preparing for the new Companies Act - 1st June.

We also cover the Private Health Insurance Penalties approaching and Return to Work Interviews after being out sick from the workplace.

The SFA have also made two recent Submissions, one to the Low Pay Commission and another to the Central Bank SME Lending Code Consultation.

Please do keep me updated on any issues that concern you.

Kind regards

Patricia Callan
SFA Director


SFA Annual Subscription 2015
 

SFA membership is an important asset to your business and if you have not already done so, could I ask you to please remit your annual subscription by return.  My sincere thanks to the many companies who have already responded with their 2015 subscriptions.  As in your own business, we are continuously seeking to...


SFA membership is an important asset to your business and if you have not already done so, could I ask you to please remit your annual subscription by return.  My sincere thanks to the many companies who have already responded with their 2015 subscriptions. 

As in your own business, we are continuously seeking to drive efficiency and to provide members with a more flexible method of payment for your subscription by providing a direct debit option.  This will make it easier for you to pay your subscription, by spacing the payment throughout the year. You have the option of making a once off or recurring (monthly) payment.

Please visit www.sfa.ie/directdebit where you can submit your details electronically.  Once we have received your completed mandate the direct debit request will be activated against your 2015 payment(s). 

Alternatively, you may choose to pay your membership fee in full by cheque, electronic transfer or online at www.sfa.ie/invoice

Please note that you can renew your subscription on-line by clicking here or by credit transfer, the SFA bank details are:

 

Bank  :  Bank of Ireland

Bank Address  :  2 College Green, Dublin 2

Account Name  :  SFA / Ibec

Bank Account  :  10025922

Sort Code  :  90-00-17

BIC  :  BOFIIE2D

IBAN  :  IE97BOFI90001710025922

Vat Number  :  IE 0051524W

As of Thursday, 5th of February 2015, all individual company passwords to www.sfa.ie will no longer enable you to log on to the members only area of the website.  This will only be re-enabled on receipt of subscription.

SFA Annual Conference – 10th June
 
The SFA Annual Conference entitled “BOOST” -  your confidence, your team, your business, your profits” will take place on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 from 8.30-1pm, followed by lunch
in the Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin 4.  The period of recession impacted...

The SFA Annual Conference entitled “BOOST” -  your confidence, your team, your business, your profits will take place on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 from 8.30-1pm, followed by lunch in the Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin 4.  The period of recession impacted morale and ability so much, especially in smaller businesses. Now that we have returned to the stability path, it is critical that we rebuild ourselves and our management teams to boost our growth potential and thus our overall business and profits.  We will hear from speakers whose business has recovered from the brink, what they did from a business point of view, but also what they did for their management team, how they got the management team back feeling confident and focused on growth.  The event offers owner managers of small firms around the country an opportunity to come together to meet business colleagues, exchange views and learn from each other's experiences, as well as hopefully do some business with each other.

The price for members is €90 + 23% VAT (€110.70 and for non-members it is €120 + 23% Vat (€147.60).

For further information and to book your place please email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie or Tel: 01-6051668.  Speaker updates will be posted on www.sfa.ie/events

This event is sponsored by RaboDirect.

Sign Up to be a Prompt Payer
 
The Government recently launched the Prompt Payments Code, which the SFA is partnering on, in encouraging members to sign up to be a prompt payer and to choose to do business with others who have signed the Code.  By committing to the Code, you are...

The Government recently launched the Prompt Payments Code, which the SFA is partnering on, in encouraging members to sign up to be a prompt payer and to choose to do business with others who have signed the Code.  By committing to the Code, you are agreeing to pay your bills within 30 days or whatever terms are agreed in your written statement of terms and conditions.  It is hoped that the Code will promote a change to a Prompt Payments culture in Ireland. 

Further details on www.promptpayment.ie

If you have any queries on this, please contact Patricia Callan at Tel: 01-6051602 or e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie .

Low Pay Commission – SFA Submission
 
The SFA made a submission to the recently established Low Pay Commission, whose remit is to decide on the appropriate movement in the level of the National Minimum Wage.  To read the full copy of the submission and...

The SFA made a submission to the recently established Low Pay Commission, whose remit is to decide on the appropriate movement in the level of the National Minimum Wage.  To read the full copy of the submission and the SFA’s arguments against an increase in the Minimum Wage please click here

For further details and any queries, please contact Patricia Callan at Tel: 01-6051602 or e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie .

Electronic Payroll payments need to be made early for the May bank holiday weekend
 
Members need to be aware of some important information with regard to customer payments around the upcoming May bank holiday weekend.  Friday 1st May 2015 is a European bank holiday – although a normal...

Members need to be aware of some important information with regard to customer payments around the upcoming May bank holiday weekend.  Friday 1st May 2015 is a European bank holiday – although a normal banking day in Ireland. As such, no electronic Euro payments can be made to bank accounts on that day.  Employers, for example, who normally pay weekly wages on Friday or monthly salaries on the 1st of the month (including standing orders) will need to submit their payments to their bank by Wednesday 29th April to ensure that beneficiary accounts are updated (credited) on Thursday 30th April.  If employers do not pay early, some employees may not receive their wage/salary payments until Tuesday 5th May, as Monday 4th May is a local bank holiday in Ireland.

For further details on Euro payments processing (both incoming and outgoing) over that weekend, please contact your own bank or credit union.

Start Preparing for the new Companies Act – 1 June
 
The long awaited Companies Bill was finally enacted in December 2014 with an intended date for commencement on the 1st June 2015. Therefore members need to start preparing themselves and their companies for the changes.  The Companies Registration Office (CRO) are going to start making the public aware...

The long awaited Companies Bill was finally enacted in December 2014 with an intended date for commencement on the 1st June 2015. Therefore members need to start preparing themselves and their companies for the changes.  The Companies Registration Office (CRO) are going to start making the public aware of the Act and the responsibilities that go with it.  Below are what members should expect to see:

  1. CRO website (www.cro.ie) has a specific content folder outlining aspects of the Companies Act.
  2. The specific content folder includes drafts of new statutory forms which will be required once the Act commences such as Annual Returns, changes in Director details, etc.  Members of the public and interested parties can contact the CRO directly with any comments they have on the forms, which in itself, is a unique opportunity for users of the CRO to have a practical say on the format and content of statutory forms.
  3. In April, the CRO will send an information booklet to every Director in the country.  They will do so via email addresses where possible, and by post.
  4. In April, the CRO will start a general advertising campaign to make the public aware of the Act which will be relatively low level as it will endeavour to create awareness of the Act rather than deal with specific items in detail.
  5. Later in the year (before June but date to be confirmed) the CRO will start a more detailed advertising campaign where they will endeavour to highlight the choices companies have regarding their designations (e.g. remain limited by shares, become designated activity company, etc).
The CRO will be using as many media profiles as possible, e.g. twitter, email, radio, newspapers all of which will drive users towards the CRO website for further information. 
Private Health Insurance – Penalties
 

Over 35s with no private health insurance to face higher prices if and when they take out policy.  From 1 May, lifetime community rating (LCR) will be applied to individuals taking out health insurance for the first time after the age of 35.  A loading rate of...


Over 35s with no private health insurance to face higher prices if and when they take out policy.  From 1 May, lifetime community rating (LCR) will be applied to individuals taking out health insurance for the first time after the age of 35. A loading rate of 2% on top of the premium for every year an individual is aged over 34 will be introduced.

For more details on this government initiative, please click here.

If you are reviewing your organisation's private health insurance policy and want to learn more about the new measures, the following Department of Health FAQs may be of interest to you.

Central Bank SME Lending Code Consultation – SFA Submission
 
The Central Bank is undertaking a review of their SME Lending Code to strengthen protections for small businesses in their dealings with financial institutions.  To read a copy of the SFA Submission...

The Central Bank is undertaking a review of their SME Lending Code to strengthen protections for small businesses in their dealings with financial institutions.  To read a copy of the SFA Submission, please click here

For further details and any queries, please contact Patricia Callan at Tel: 01-6051602 or e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie .

Return to Work Interviews
 
Carrying out return to work interviews is one of the most effective measures employers can take to reduce absenteeism from the company.  The purpose of conducting a return to work interview is for the...

Carrying out return to work interviews is one of the most effective measures employers can take to reduce absenteeism from the company.   The purpose of conducting a return to work interview is for the employee to feel that their absence has been noticed.  When conducting the interview, you should ensure that it is carried out in a separate room away from other employees, in private.  Begin by welcoming the employee, handle the meeting sensitively, confirm the reason of their absence, update them on what occurred during their absence, give the employee an opportunity to discuss and end the meeting positively.  Some companies have return to work forms that they get the employee to fill out after being absent from the workplace and this is then stored in their personnel file for future reference.

Members who may have further questions on this can contact a member of the SFA on Tel: 01 605 1668/1664 or e-mail: info@sfa.ie.

A copy of the SFA Guideline on Managing Absenteeism can be downloaded by clicking here.

SFA National Small Business Awards
 
The SFA National Small Business Awards Ceremony took place in the RDS Concert Hall on Wednesday, 4th March 2015.  The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD,
was the Guest of Honour and made the presentations.  The event...

The SFA National Small Business Awards Ceremony took place in the RDS Concert Hall on Wednesday, 4th March 2015.  The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, was the Guest of Honour and made the presentations.  The event was attended by over 300 guests, including 38 short-listed companies.  Clevamama were announced the Overall Winners of the 2015 Awards Programme (pictured in the photo).

You can view video-clip highlights of the Winners being interviewed at the Gala Awards Ceremony by clicking here

If you would like to register your interest in entering the 2016 Awards Programme or nominate a company who you feel would be a good candidate, please click here

Business Bytes – Coaching for Success, FREE Seminar
 
Business Byte Image

SFA Business Bytes, with the support of Bord Gáis Energy, are free monthly seminars for small business owner-mangers with the intention of making them more effective in their business.  In May, we focus on Coaching in small businesses with the aim of empowering people managers to enhance the potential of every employee to become more effective, productive and engaged.  Coaching is an increasingly popular tool for personal and professional development, one that can benefit employees and the organisation in which they work. It aims to increase the individual’s awareness and encourages them to take responsibility for their own actions.

This practical seminar is presented by Ciara Conlon.  She is a coach, consultant and author of “Chaos to Control”, a practical guide to getting things done. Ciara will explain what coaching is and share ways in which you can integrate the tools of coaching into the workplace.

The event is aimed at managers who want to improve results and get higher performance from their team.

This seminar will take place on Wednesday, 13th May from 6-8.30pm in Bord Gais Energy HQ, One Warrington Place, Dublin 2.  

The event is entirely FREE of charge for members to attend, however you must pre-register by clicking here.

For further information please email alan.sherlock@sfa.ie or Tel: 01 6051664.

SFA in the Media March/April
 

In March, AJ Noonan, SFA Chairman was appointed to the board of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD.  For further details, please click here.

The Director of the Small Firms Association, Patricia Callan welcomed the recent publication by Minister Richard Bruton, TD of the Copenhagen Economics “TTIP Impact in Ireland” report, which shows that SMEs are likely to see a more positive impact than larger firms, as reducing the fixed costs of selling make it easier for them to export into the US.  To read her full comment on this, please click here.

Patricia Callan, SFA Director also welcomed the continuing downward trend in the live register figures that were released at the beginning of April.  She commented, “Small businesses truly are the engines of our economic recovery. We have a vital role to play in terms of employment generation, especially in regional towns and villages and rural Ireland.” However she cautioned against increasing the business cost base, in particular moves to increase the National Minimum Wage, stating “increasing business labour costs without productivity gains, will not only dampen this recovery, but will ultimately lead to both the prevention of job growth and to job losses across the sector.”  To read the full press release, please click here.

Patricia Callan welcomed the launch of the Prompt Payments Code portal, by Minister for Business & Employment, Ged Nash, TD. She stated that, "The SFA has been working on this project over the past number of years, and is signing up to the Code itself and encouraging all our members, and the broader business community, public & semi-state organisations to do likewise."  Read the full press release by clicking here.

Patricia Callan also released a comment on the recent CPI Figures.  She stated, “despite the significant increase in business activity levels this year, many businesses are struggling to achieve price increases in the marketplace. Price competition in all sectors remains strong and consumers have benefited from this competition”.  To read the full press release, please click here.

TV/Radio Highlights

Patricia Callan debated the issues around low pay with Sinn Fein Deputy Peadar Tobin on UTV Ireland Live at 10pm on Thursday, 12th March. 

She also participated in a panel debate on the “Saturday with Claire Byrne Show” on RTE Radio 1 on 28th March.  Click here to listen to it.

She further debated low pay and the JobBridge internship scheme on TV3’s “Vincent Browne Show” on Tuesday 14th April.  Click here to see it.

Patricia Callan commented on the issue of zero hours contracts for UTV Ireland Live on Wednesday, 1st April and on Newstalk’s “Lunchtime” Show on Thursday, 2nd April.  Click here to listen to it.

Patricia Callan was interviewed on RTE Radio 1’s “Drivetime” Show on Wednesday, 8th April in relation to the Government’s proposals for reform of parental leave and also on Radio Kerry on Thursday, 9th April.  Click here to listen it.