Welcome to the July News Update 2015
 

Dear Member

In this month's edition of the SFA news update we inform you about the New SFA Strategy 2015-2020, the SFA representing small business at the Government's new National Economic Dialogue, the Low Pay Commission recommending 50c Minimum Wage Increase and the recent Late Payments Interest rate change.

Also covered is the impending Accrual of Annual Leave whilst on Sick Leave, Pregnancy at Work, Workplace Dress Code during Summer Months and enjoying Company Summer Social Events appropriately.

SFA Submissions have also been sent in on Tax and Entrepreneurship and on the Period of Bankruptcy.  We also inform you of all our media coverage during July and our up and coming events.

Please do keep us informed of any issues that may 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...


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 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.

New SFA Strategy 2015-2020
 
On 1 July 2015, the SFA National Council adopted a strategy for the association for the next five years. It sets out not only the objectives for the growth and development of the SFA but also a broader vision for the small business environment in Ireland in the coming years. The strategy reaffirms the SFA's mission...

On 1 July 2015, the SFA National Council adopted a strategy for the association for the next five years. It sets out not only the objectives for the growth and development of the SFA but also a broader vision for the small business environment in Ireland in the coming years. The strategy reaffirms the SFA's mission to deliver business-focused advice and insights to member companies, influence government policy to the benefit of small businesses and connect its members in a thriving community. Arising from the new strategic focus, SFA members can also expect new service offerings, increased business opportunities and a strengthened regional network.  

For further information on the new strategy please click here.

National Economic Dialogue
 
The SFA represented small business at the Government's new National Economic Dialogue, which took place in Dublin Castle on 16-17 July.  SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan participated in the workshop...

The SFA represented small business at the Government's new National Economic Dialogue, which took place in Dublin Castle on 16-17 July.  SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan participated in the workshop "Economic Growth and Equity in Tax Policy", chaired by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD and SFA Director, Patricia Callan inputted into the workshop on "Competing Economic & Social Priorities", chaired by An Tanaiste, Joan Burton, TD.  These inputs and the plenary discussions will feed into the October Budget and medium to long-term Government planning.  The Minister for Finance in his summation said that he would make a start on lowering CGT for entrepreneurs and on equalising tax treatment for self-employed/Proprietary Directors and PAYE workers in this October's budget, which are key priorities for the SFA budget submission. 

The Chairman's full report of the Dialogue is available by click here.  If you click the 7th link down over on the right hand side of the webpage.

Low Pay Commission recommends 50c Minimum Wage Increase
 
The Low Pay Commission has recommended a 50c increase in the National Minimum Wage, which will increase it from €8.65 per hour to €9.15 per hour.  The Government will announce its decision on whether to implement this increase in Budget 2016, and it...

The Low Pay Commission has recommended a 50c increase in the National Minimum Wage, which will increase it from €8.65 per hour to €9.15 per hour.  The Government will announce its decision on whether to implement this increase in Budget 2016, and it will likely take effect in 2016.  Mitigating measures around both employer and employee PRSI are likely to also be announced at Budget time, as the report clearly identifies that without this both the employee and employer would be significantly worse off in the net position. 

The final Report and the Minority Statements of the Low Pay Commission can be found by click here.

The SFA Submission is available by clicking here

We will continue to lobby against this increase in the run up to Budget 2016.

 

SFA Submission on Tax and Entrepreneurship
 
On 14 July 2015, the SFA made a written submission to the Department of Finance's Tax and Entrepreneurship Review. Drawing on established SFA policy positions and specific member input, the...

On 14 July 2015, the SFA made a written submission to the Department of Finance's Tax and Entrepreneurship Review. Drawing on established SFA policy positions and specific member input, the submission strongly called for a fairer and more attractive tax environment for small businesses. The SFA made the case for an end to the discriminatory tax treatment of entrepreneurs and the self-employed in terms of USC, PAYE tax credits and PRSI. The submission also contains recommendations on Capital Gains Tax, employee share options and a range of other existing or proposed tax measures.

To read the full submission please click here.

Late Payments Legislation - Interest Rate Change
 
Under the Late Payment in Commercial Transactions Regulations, interest at the rate of the European Central Bank rate plus 8% can be applied to payments made after a 30 day payment period has expired...

Under the Late Payment in Commercial Transactions Regulations, interest at the rate of the European Central Bank rate plus 8% can be applied to payments made after a 30 day payment period has expired (in the absence of a written contract specifying an alternative payment period).  With effect from 1 July 2015 the late payment interest rate is 8.05% per annum (that is based on the ECB rate of 0.05% plus the margin of 8%). That rate equates to a daily rate of 0.022%. Penalty interest due for late payments should be calculated on a daily basis.

A copy of the SFA Guide on Late Payments can be downloaded by clicking here. 

A copy of the SFA template “Terms & Conditions of Trade” can be downloaded by clicking here

For specific queries on late payments, please contact the SFA, Tel: 01-605 1602/1626/1668 or e-mail: info@sfa.ie.

Accrual of Annual Leave whilst on Sick Leave
 
The Workplace Relations Act 2015 has been signed by the President. It is set to radically overhaul the existing employment law bodies with the objective of streamlining the adjudication of employee rights and related matters and introduces new enforcement measures for NERA.  In order to promote higher levels of compliance with...

The Workplace Relations Act 2015 has been signed by the President. It is set to radically overhaul the existing employment law bodies with the objective of streamlining the adjudication of employee rights and related matters and introduces new enforcement measures for NERA. In order to promote higher levels of compliance with employment law and equality law, employers can now be hit with on-the-spot fines and the possibility of imprisonment for failure to comply with a compliance notice given.  The new Act will come into force on the 1 October 2015. 

Section 86 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 will amend sections 19, 20 and 23 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 to bring the Act into line with recent rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union to allow workers to accrue annual leave during periods of sick leave.  However, the entitlement of workers who are on long-term sick leave will be capped; leave will be subject to a maximum “carry-over” period of up to 15 months from the end of the leave year in which it accrued.  Although the Workplace Relations Act comes into force on the 1October, the Minister has said that the accrual of annual leave whilst on sick leave maybe enacted earlier.  We will keep members fully briefed.

To read the full act please click here.

Pregnancy at Work
 
As the earliest stages of pregnancy are the most critical ones for the developing child, it is in the employee’s best interest to let her employer know as soon as possible that she is pregnant and employers should encourage early notification for this reason.  The Pregnancy at Work Regulations, which...

As the earliest stages of pregnancy are the most critical ones for the developing child, it is in the employee’s best interest to let her employer know as soon as possible that she is pregnant and employers should encourage early notification for this reason.  The Pregnancy at Work Regulations, which form part of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2007 require an employer to be compliant in ensuring that the workplace does not pose a risk to the health of a pregnant employee or her developing child.  The pregnancy risk assessment is the basis for deciding if there are articles or substances in the workplace that could impact on both and the measures to be taken to avoid any injury or ill health. 

The SFA Guideline is available for downloading to obtain more information on this by clicking here

We also have a sample pregnancy risk assessment form which you can access by clicking here.  This needs to be tailored to suit the company. 

Ibec management training are also holding courses on this area during the month of August.  Click here for further information.

Members who have specific queries on this matter can contact Aisling Heaton on Tel: 01-605 1668 or email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie.

Workplace Dress Code during the Summer Months
 
If your employee’s workplace summer attire starts looking more like a day at the seaside than a day at the office, it may be time to re-enforce your dress code. Most company dress codes require...

If your employee’s workplace summer attire starts looking more like a day at the seaside than a day at the office, it may be time to re-enforce your dress code. Most company dress codes require employees to avoid ‘sins of skin’ and may, for example, prohibit garments that expose too much flesh, bare shoulders, flip flops, and open toed shoes like sandals. However, unusually hot temperatures may cause employees to forget the usual rules. For this reason it may be helpful to provide employees with a friendly reminder of the organisation’s dress code and the dos and don’ts of summer work attire.  You can do this by introducing/ reviewing a workplace dress code policy. 

Companies have reputations, images and health and safety regulations to uphold at all stages throughout the year therefore it is important that dress codes are adhered to.

Members who have specific queries on this matter can contact Aisling Heaton on Tel: 01-605 1668 or email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie.

Company Summer Social Events
 
During this time of year many employers organise a workplace outing for staff to boost morale and spirit.  An employer needs to be careful and to ensure that company social events are...

During this time of year many employers organise a workplace outing for staff to boost morale and spirit.  An employer needs to be careful and to ensure that company social events are enjoyed safely and in line with good practice.  It is important to remember that the company party is an extension of the working day for the company.  It is still on company time.  Best practice is to send a short memo out prior to the party taking place informing staff that it is a work function and an appropriate standard of conduct is expected. As a work related social event, the Company’s policies e.g. Dignity at Work Policy, Bullying and Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedures, Health and Safety Policy and Company Code of Conduct, all apply fully at the annual Summer Social event.  Please be mindful of your obligations with respect to each of the policies concerned.

Members who have specific queries on this matter can contact Aisling Heaton on Tel: 01-605 1668 or email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie.

SFA Submission on Period of Bankruptcy
 
The SFA called for a reduction in the period of bankruptcy period from three years to one in a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.  The SFA...

The SFA called for a reduction in the period of bankruptcy period from three years to one in a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. The SFA argued that in the case of honest business failure, the period of bankruptcy should be shortened to foster a more favourable environment for entrepreneurship, including second chance entrepreneurship. Based on the consultation, the Committee recommended that the term be reduced to one year, but that an extension to three years could be applied in certain circumstances. 

To read the Committee’s report please click here.

To read the full SFA Submission please click here.

FibrePower Competition
 
Eircom has launched a nationwide competition to identify the next “Fibre to the Home” rural trial community.  The move follows on from the first successful trial site in...

Eircom has launched a nationwide competition to identify the next “Fibre to the Home” rural trial community.  The move follows on from the first successful trial site in Belcarra, Mayo which has seen business and residents of this rural community enjoy the enormous economic, educational and social benefits of having access to broadband.  eircom is calling on communities across Ireland to be empowered and enter their community into the competition.  Communities are being asked to present a case as to why their locality should win and become the next eircom “Fibre to the Home” trial location. 

For further information on this please log on to www.fibrerollout.ie/competition

Entries close 15 September 2015.

 

SFA National Small Business Awards 2016 Programme
 

The Twelfth SFA National Small Business Awards will be officially launched in early September by Awards Patron An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD.  The aim of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland, and to recognise the vital contribution of the small business sector to Irish industry.  Categories to enter are Manufacturing, Food and Drink, Services, Innovator of the Year, Environmental Sustainability, Small Business Exporter of the Year, Outstanding Small Business and Emerging New Business. 

If you would like to pre-register your interest or nominate a company for the 2016 Awards Programme, please click here.

SFA Employment Law Conference 2015 – 24th September
 

You need to protect your business interests while ensuring that you are acting in line with best practice and are in compliance with the law.  Irish employment law is in a state of flux, with fundamental reform of employment rights bodies through the Workplace Relations Act.  Small business owners and managers continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape. This year’s employment law conference tells you what you need to know about upcoming changes in the law, learning from lessons in case law while providing a useful reminder of the pitfalls to avoid.   

The SFA Employment Law Conference is taking place on Thursday, 24th September in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin 9.  It is a full day event including all refreshments and a sit down lunch.  The cost to attend is €190 + 23% = €233.70

For further information on this and to book your place please click here or email marie.keogh@ibec.ie or Tel: 01 605 1645.

SFA Annual Lunch – 6th November
 

The SFA Annual Lunch will take place on Friday, 6th November 2015 in the Convention Centre Dublin.  The Central Bank of Ireland Governor, Patrick Honohan will be our Guest of Honour.  This is the biggest business lunch of the year with over 750 members and guests in attendance and represents a fantastic networking opportunity. 

For further details please email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie or Tel: 01 605 1668.

SFA in the Media in July
 

In July, the SFA commented on the recent Credit Review Office Report.  Patricia Callan, SFA Director commented “It is a strong endorsement of the credit review system that Ulster Bank and PTSB have now voluntarily entered the Credit Review System and have recommitted to the Irish small business market. However it is critically important that we see more new entrants into the small business finance space to ensure there is choice and competition for those firms seeking finance. The new SBCI loan fund should be used to attract new financial intermediaries into the market to provide lower cost, new and innovative products, such as longer term loans and interest free holidays, which will meet a market need.” To read the full press release please click here.

The SFA represented small business at the National Economic Dialogue that took place in Dublin Castle on the 16 -17 July.  SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan, said “Tax reform is key to unlocking job creation, investment and growth. The SFA has long advocated reform of the Irish tax system to make it more attractive and rewarding to establish and operate a business in Ireland.”  To read the full press release please click here.  To read the article featured on Independent.ie please click here.  SFA Director, Patricia Callan was interviewed on UTV Ireland "Live at 10" on this.

SFA Director Patricia Callan condemned the proposed 6% increase in the National Minimum Wage after the Government published the Low Pay Commission report.  You can read the report by clicking here.  Patricia Callan did live radio interviews on Newstalk's "George Hook" Show.  You can listen to that by clicking here. She also did Today FM "The Last Word with Matt Cooper", which was a debate with the Minister responsible, Ged Nash, TD.  Click here to listen to that debate.  She also debated the issue on TV3 "Tonight Show" with Joanna Tuffy, Labour Party, TD, Michael Taft, UNITE trade union and economist Constantin Gurdgiev.  You can view that by clicking here.  She also gave several news interviews on national & regional radio.

SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan, slammed UNITE trade union's proposal that employers' PRSI should be increased rather than reduced in the context of the Low Pay Commission debate.  You can read his response by clicking here.

SFA Director, Patricia Callan was interviewed on Newstalk's "Lunchtime" show on the Report of the Expert Working Group on Childcare and advocated subsidising childcare costs for working parents, over extending parental leave.  Click here to listen.