Welcome to the May News Update
 
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 and not to be missed.

We update you on the SFA's position on Mandatory Pension Proposals to the Department of Social Protection, the HSA launch free on-line Health and Safety Courses for Small Business, the recently published Ibec Economic Outlook Report and the Employment of Young Persons during the summer months.

Also in this issue we cover the New Companies Act which comes into effect from the 1st of June,  the Work Permit and Visa Reform - Trusted Partner Initiative, ThinkBusiness.ie which is the "Go to" Digital Destination for Irish Business and a recently published report on how Entrepreneurs view Philanthropy in Ireland.

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...


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, our 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...

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 special price for members is €90 + 23% VAT (€110.70) for 2 people and for non-members it is €120 + 23% Vat (€147.60) per person.

For further information and to book your place please click here or email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie or Tel: 01-6051668. 

To see the line up of our speakers please click here

The SFA had a special conference supplement in the Sunday Business Post on the 17th May.  To view the supplement please click here

This event is sponsored by RaboDirect.

SFA Submission on Mandatory Pension Proposal
 
The SFA outlined its opposition to the introduction of a mandatory pensions regime in a submission to the Universal Retirement Savings Group, which is chaired by the...
The SFA outlined its opposition to the introduction of a mandatory pensions regime in a submission to the Universal Retirement Savings Group, which is chaired by the Department of Social Protection.  Our stance on the current pensions debate in eight key points is:
  1. The SFA is opposed to any increase in the cost of employment
  2. Any new pensions regime should be offset by a reduction in PRSI
  3. More should be done to promote and incentivise supplementary voluntary pension provision
  4. A review of State Pension provision is needed
  5. There is a need for specific focus on equity for self-employed people
  6. There should be greater focus on increasing numbers at work to improve the ratio of workers to pensioners
  7. The future of the private pensions industry must be considered
  8. A universal pensions scheme poses a risk to national competitiveness

To read the submission in full, click here.

The New Companies Act 2014 - With effect from the 1st June
 
The new Companies Act 2014 was signed into law on the 23rd December last and is taking effect on the 1st June.  It affects all companies and...

The new Companies Act 2014 was signed into law on the 23rd December last and is taking effect on the 1st June.  It affects all companies and both simplifies existing law and consolidates it from 32 pieces of legislation to 1. It is now modelled on the smaller private company rather than the large plc and so is more user friendly, modern and significantly less bureaucratic. However it does require companies to decide on what structure is best for them and to take steps to replace their existing rules with a new simplified shorter constitutional document.

There is a guidance booklet available to members to explain the changes which you can download by clicking here.

HSA launches free on-line Health and Safety Courses for Small Business
 
Small business owners and managers face many unique challenges, but one challenge they face in common with their larger counterparts is the obligation to provide a safe and healthy place of work.  To provide assistance...

Small business owners and managers face many unique challenges, but one challenge they face in common with their larger counterparts is the obligation to provide a safe and healthy place of work.  To provide assistance the Health and Safety Authority has launched three short on-line courses, aimed at small business employers and employees.  The 15 minute introductory courses will give learners a quick, free and invaluable guide to getting safety and health right in a small business environment. Courses can be accessed on the small business e-learning portal http://learning.besmart.ie or from the Authority’s main e-learning portal: http://hsalearning.ie.

The courses present learners with an overview of workplace safety and health requirements for employers, including the self-employed and employees. Learning outcomes include:

  • the key duties of employers and employees
  • the purpose of a safety statement and
  • the process of carrying out a basic risk assessment

The content is suitable for use across all work sectors.

To see the full range of HSA on-line courses on offer, browse and/or register as a learner on www.hsalearning.ie.

If you are interested in further information on HSA on-line learning or to register for these or other courses for continuing professional development points, contact: joanne_harmon@hsa.ie.

Ibec Economic Outlook Report
 
Ibec’s Quarterly Economic Outlook published in April predicts the Irish economy will continue to outperform the...

Ibec’s Quarterly Economic Outlook published in April predicts the Irish economy will continue to outperform the rest of Europe and grow by an impressive 5.4% this year (GDP forecast revised up from Q4 2014 forecast of 4.8%). The Outlook also contains Ibec's latest forecasts on investment, consumer spending and employment trends.

Click here to download it.

Employment of Young Persons
 
Since the beginning of May the SFA has taken a number of calls on the employment of young persons as companies get ready to start recruiting in for the summer month periods.  The employment of children and...

Since the beginning of May the SFA have taken a number of calls on the employment of young persons as companies get ready to start recruiting in for the summer month periods.  The employment of children and young people is primarily governed by the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996, which sets down restrictions on their hours of work and minimum rest requirements.

Employees who are young people generally have the same rights as adults, e.g. to receive a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment, to receive annual leave and public holidays and are given the same protection with regard to unfair dismissal, redundancy, etc. Under the Minimum Wage Act, 2000, employees under 18 are entitled to be paid at 70% of the minimum wage (€6.06 per hour).  It is important for employers to make themselves familiar with this act and the rights that young people are afforded under it.

To access the SFA Guideline on “Employing Young Persons”, please click here.

Members with specific queries or who require further information should contact the SFA on Tel: 01-605 1602/1664/1668 or email: info@sfa.ie.

Work Permit and Visa Reform - Trusted Partner Initiative
 
Under the Trusted Partner Initiative a Person who will make an offer of employment / Employers/Connected Persons and EEA contractors may apply for Trusted Partner status. When Trusted Partner status is granted a unique...

Under the Trusted Partner Initiative a Person who will make an offer of employment / Employers/Connected Persons and EEA contractors may apply for Trusted Partner status. When Trusted Partner status is granted a unique Trusted Partner Registration Number is assigned. Applicants granted Trusted Partner status will have access to their own suite of employment permit application forms where they must only provide their Trusted Partner Registration number in lieu of all employer details.

Applications by Trusted Partners on the Trusted Partner employment permit applications forms only need to provide details relating to the employment and the foreign national when they are applying for a permit.   The objective of the initiative is to ease the administrative burden on employers/connected persons/EEA contractors in expansion mode and to remove the requirement that they replicate the same employer/connected person information in respect of each employment permit application made for grant or renewal.

The Trusted Partner Initiative will streamline the application process for the person making the offer of employment/employers/connected persons and EEA contractors when applying for Employment Permits. It is open to companies in expansion mode, start-up companies, as well as regular users of the permits regime.

The benefits of the Trusted Partner Initiative are:

  • Fast turnaround of Trusted Partner registration applications: within 2 working days for complete applications
  • Status valid for 2 years
  • No fee
  • Reduced paperwork for every permit applied for under the scheme
  • Shortened employment permit application forms
  • Faster turnaround of Trusted Partner employment permit applications

The Trusted Partner Initiative will extend to all permit types except in the case of Contract for Services Employment Permits where it will only facilitate EEA Contractors.  There are criteria for eligibility. 

For further information on this new initiative please click here.

ThinkBusiness.ie - “Go To” Digital Destination for Irish Businesses
 
ThinkBusiness.ie is designed to be the “Go To” digital destination for Irish Businesses.  It brings together – in one place, and free to access – all of the tools and information...

ThinkBusiness.ie is designed to be the “Go To” digital destination for Irish Businesses.  It brings together – in one place, and free to access – all of the tools and information that an aspiring or established business person is likely to need to help them run and grow their business.  It gives support on a wide range of topics from, financial planning to marketing, sales to getting digital.

For further information please log on to www.thinkbusiness.ie.

"Giving and Gaining - How Entrepreneurs view Philanthropy in Ireland"
 
The Community Foundation for Ireland recently launched a new report: Giving & Gaining: How Entrepreneurs View Philanthropy in Ireland.  Relatively little is known about philanthropy in Ireland – in terms of...

The Community Foundation for Ireland recently launched a new report: Giving & Gaining: How Entrepreneurs View Philanthropy in Ireland.  Relatively little is known about philanthropy in Ireland – in terms of more strategic, structured and purposeful giving. In particular, little is known about philanthropic donors or those with the propensity to give. This report provides insights into one such group and has been undertaken by The Community Foundation for Ireland in playing its part in promoting greater philanthropy in Ireland.  They are aware of the particular impact that successful entrepreneurs are having on the world of philanthropy and in this study was interested to explore philanthropic giving by Irish entrepreneurs in the light of significant entrepreneurial success in Ireland in the last 15 years.

Positively, despite relatively low engagement in structured and strategic giving to date, the study finds that there is a clear appetite for engaging more in philanthropy amongst many entrepreneurs. There is also a clear interest in seeing certain trends and supports which have encouraged entrepreneurs to engage in philanthropy globally, replicated in Ireland so that there is a more supportive environment for philanthropy.

To view the full report please click here.

SFA Employment Law Conference 2015 – Your Essential Road Map
 

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 the 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 email: marie.keogh@ibec.ie or Tel: 01 605 1645.

SFA Annual Lunch 2015 - Date for your Diary
 

The SFA Annual Lunch will take place on Friday, 6th November 2015 in the Convention Centre Dublin.  This is the biggest business lunch of the year with over 750 members and guests in attendance and represents a fantastic networking opportunity.  Further details will follow in due course.   

SFA National Small Business Awards 2016 Programme
 

The Twelfth SFA National Small Business Awards will be officially launched in September (date to be confirmed) 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 in entering the 2016 Awards Programme, please click here.

For further details on the Awards, contact Alan Sherlock, Tel: 01-6051664 or email alan.sherlock@sfa.ie.

SFA in the Media in May
 
During the month of May the SFA featured in the media drawing attention to a number of topics that may directly impact on Small firms in Ireland.  SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan called for a three year freeze in the minimum wage.  He stated “Artificially increasing labour costs will not only dampen this recovery, but will ultimately lead to both the prevention of job growth and to job losses.”  To read the full press release please click here and to listen to his radio interview on RTE 1 Radio “Morning Ireland” please click here (fourth interview down from top of the page).

Patricia Callan SFA Director welcomed the continuing downward trend in the unemployment figures and she stated that affordability is key to the decision to employ someone from a business owners perspective.  To See her press release on this, please click here.

Patricia Callan has also come out rejecting the idea of having a mandatory pensions system in Ireland.  She stated: “It is clear that the current pension provision needs to be enhanced to meet the demands of future retirees but we are by no means convinced that mandatory pension provision is the best option. Mandatory pension provision will prove costly to employees, to business and to the Exchequer, without any associated benefits in the long term. As such, the willingness of both employees and employers to accept compulsory pension savings is seriously questionable.”  To read the full press release please click here and write up of it in the online Irish Times by clicking here.

Patricia Callan has also come out rejecting the idea of having a mandatory pensions system in Ireland.  She stated: “It is clear that the current pension provision needs to be enhanced to meet the demands of future retirees but we are by no means convinced that mandatory pension provision is the best option. Mandatory pension provision will prove costly to employees, to business and to the Exchequer, without any associated benefits in the long term. As such, the willingness of both employees and employers to accept compulsory pension savings is seriously questionable.”  To read the full press release please click here and the write up of it in the online Irish Times by clicking here.  You can also hear her Interview on RTE's  Radio 1 "Morning Ireland" on Monday 25th by clicking here (fourteenth interview down from the top 7.50am).