SFA E-Zine – The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member,

This week's e-zine includes information on the proposed paternity leave changes announced as part of Budget 2016 and highlights that your business may need to register under the new Regulation of Lobbying Act.

We bring you details on an SFA meeting with the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and on the Going for Growth programme for women entrepreneurs. The e-zine also provides information on the next Business Bytes session, the SFA Annual Lunch and recent press coverage.


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 directly at tel: 01 605 1602 or 

e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit www.sfa.ie.


Kind Regards,

Patricia Callan
SFA Director


NEWS
Changes to paternity leave - Budget 2016
 
Have you heard about the proposed paternity leave changes, announced as part of Budget 2016?

Have you heard about the proposed paternity leave changes, announced as part of Budget 2016? 

At present, in Ireland, there is no statutory entitlement for fathers to avail of paternity leave when their child is born. Companies, however, often give a small number of days paid leave, as a benefit.

In Budget 2016, ministers declared intentions to legislate for paternity leave in Ireland. The plan proposed introducing a fathers entitlement to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave, paid by Social Welfare at €230 per week in respect of births from September 2016. The PRSI contributions will be the same as those for maternity benefit.

These changes are subject to the introduction of new legislation next year and we aim to update you as these changes take place.

Visit our website to access SFA guidelines on Ireland's current statutory maternity and adoptive leave entitlements.

If you have any queries, or would like advice on paternity leave within your business, contact Jonathan Callan, SFA Executive on tel: 01 605 1668, email:jonathan.callan@sfa.ie.

Lobbying Act - your business may need to register
 
Small businesses may have obligations under the new Regulation of Lobbying Act without even realising it. The Act, which came into force on 1 September 2015...

Small businesses may have obligations under the new Regulation of Lobbying Act without even realising it.

The Act, which came into force on 1 September 2015, uses a broad definition of lobbying and requires that all such activities are registered via the new lobbying.ie website.

For the purposes of the Act, lobbying is formal or informal communication:

  • By lobbyists, including any employer with more than 10 employees
  • With Designated Public Officials
  • On relevant matters


Am I a lobbyist? 

If you are an employer with more than 10 employees interacting formally or informally with public officials, you are categorised as a lobbyist. Furthermore, any person lobbying about the development or zoning of land is covered by the Act, regardless of whether they have any employees. 


Who is a Designated Public Official?

Communication with people holding the following positions could be categorised as lobbying:

  • Ministers, Ministers of State
  • TDs and Senators
  • Irish Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)
  • Members of Local Authorities
  • Special Advisors
  • Senior civil and public servants
    • Civil service: Secretaries General, Assistant Secretaries, Director grades and equivalent
    • Local Authorities: CEOs, Directors of Services, Heads of Finance

Remember, the contact with these Designated Public Officials does not have to be a formal meeting or letter, it could also be an informal discussion at an event, in the street or on your doorstep during a campaign.

What are considered ‘relevant matters’?

Not all communication with Designated Public Official is considered lobbying. The matters that are considered relevant are:

  • The initiation, development or modification of any public policy or programme
  • The preparation of an enactment
  • The award of any grant, loan or other financial support, contract or other agreement, or of any licence or other authorisation involving public funds

Advice for SFA members

All lobbying carried out by the SFA on behalf of members will be registered by the SFA team.


If you are asked or encouraged to raise issues with your local representatives or other Designated Public Officials by the SFA, this will be registered by the SFA as a grassroots campaign, and you do not need to take any action.

If you raise an issue with a politician or public official based on information provided by the SFA, please let us know so that we can register the activity.

If you have a conversation, send a letter or arrange a meeting with one of the office-holders mentioned above to discuss matters relating to your own business, where you are a business with more than 10 employees, you are obliged to create an account on www.lobbying.ie and register the lobbying activity.

More information is available on the SFA website.

If you have any questions on the Regulation of Lobbying Act or its application, you can contact Patricia Callan, SFA Director, on 01-6051602 or patricia.callan@sfa.ie, or Linda Barry, SFA Assistant Director, on 01-6051626 or linda.barry@sfa.ie

Meeting with EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 
On Thursday, 29 October, SFA Director Patricia Callan met with EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Dublin to discuss her portfolio and issues arising for small businesses in Ireland.

On Thursday, 29 October, SFA Director Patricia Callan met with EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Dublin to discuss her portfolio and issues arising for small businesses in Ireland.

The Commissioner outlined her 4 priorities of completing the EU Single Market, progressing Capital Markets Union, the Labour Mobility Package and the Circular Economy.  In all of these areas, she is the voice of industry and business concerns.  She has a specific interest in start-ups and has allocated a specific percentage of the business supports budget for this purpose.  

The SFA noted that the completion of the Single Market was a priority for small businesses and that this would add €3bn each year to the Irish economy.  Differentiating between small and micro firms and medium firms for state aids and public procurement contracts were also raised as issues, along with general competitiveness and ongoing access to finance concerns.  Other issues discussed included the TTIP negotiations and BREXIT.

For further information, please contact Patricia Callan on tel: 01-6051602 or e-mail: patricial.callan@sfa.ie.

Going for Growth - An invitation to ambitious women entrepreneurs
 
Are you facing challenges in growing your business? Would you benefit from peer support and the insights and experiences of successful women entrepreneurs?

Are you facing challenges in growing your business? Would you benefit from peer support and the insights and experiences of successful women entrepreneurs? Then the Going for Growth initiative could be just right for you.

A call is now being issued to ambitious women entrepreneurs who would like to be considered for participation in the 8th Cycle of the Going for Growth initiative. The emphasis will be on small numbers of committed participants who have a clear aspiration for growth, who value this opportunity, and who will commit to attending all the regular meetings.

Going for Growth is open to women entrepreneurs, across all sectors, whose main business is located in the Republic of Ireland. Whatever the size of the business at present, the application will be considered if a strong growth ambition can be demonstrated.

To be considered suitable for participation, the entrepreneur should already be the owner manager of a business of which she is a major shareholder and key influencer. Suitable applicants need to demonstrate significant aspiration for growth and should be working full time on the business. It is expected that the business will have been trading for at least two years. Only in exceptional cases will a business at an earlier stage be considered. Applications from those who have been trading for a shorter period must demonstrate that the product/service is highly innovative in nature, has a longer development cycle than the norm and has exceptional growth potential.


Interested entrepreneurs should register on the website www.goingforgrowth.com and an application form will be sent out immediately. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is Wednesday, 25 November 2015. 

EVENTS
SFA National Small Business Awards 2016 Closing tomorrow!
 
Wednesday 4 November 2015 - apply now

Don't miss your chance to apply for the the SFA National Small Business Awards 2016 -  the extended application deadline is close of business tomorrow, Wednesday 4 November 2015.


Why enter?

The Awards celebrate excellence, achievement and innovation in small business and this is your opportunity to promote and showcase your business and enhance your credibility both internationally and nationally through the extensive PR and media profile these awards attract. 

The programme also provide companies with a vehicle to recognise the valuable commitment that employees make to the organisation by highlighting their contribution and achievement.

The Awards are free to enter with a €50,000 prize package for ALL finalists.

Categories

The Awards competition is open to all companies in Ireland with up to 50 employees and there is a wide range of categories to suit all sectors:

  • Manufacturing 
  • Food & Drink 
  • Services 
  • Outstanding Small Business (for up to 5 employees)
  • Innovator of the Year 
  • Sustainability 
  • Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • Emerging New Business

How to enter? 

Download an application form from our website www.sfa.ie/awards, answer 5 short questions about your company and return the completed application form to awards@sfa.ie

Don't forget the closing date for entries to be accepted is close of business tomorrow, Wednesday 4 November 2015.

If you would like to discuss the awards programme further please contact Louise Swail on tel: 01605 1664 or email awards@sfa.ie.

SFA Annual Lunch 2015 - Central Bank Governor
 
Friday, 6 November 2015 - last few seats!

Join us on Friday, 6 November at the Small Firms Association Annual Lunch, the highlight of the small business calendar.

Network with over 600 attendees, including small business owner-managers, senior government officials and politicians, business journalists and key representatives of larger companies.

The Annual Lunch will take place in the Convention Centre Dublin at 12:30pm. We are delighted that the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan, will be the Guest of Honour.

It is the biggest business lunch of the year for the small business community and a celebration of the contribution that small businesses make to the Irish economy and society. With over 600 members and guests expected to attend, it represents a fantastic networking opportunity and we would urge all member companies to be represented.

The SFA Annual Lunch is a perfect occasion to bring together your invited guests, special customers, clients or valued employees. The cost for SFA members is €650 + 23% VAT all inclusive for a table of 10 or €65 + VAT per person at a member's networking table. 

Book your place now.

SFA IN THE MEDIA
Press coverage
Gender pay gap, USC and tax treatment of the self-employed, Primetime media request

Gender pay gap

On 3 November SFA Director, Patricia Callan was interviewed on 'Kildare Today' on KFM on a new EU Commission report on the gender pay gap.

USC and the tax treatment of the self-employed

On 28 October, SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan was interviewed on Today FM "The Last Word", reacting to An Taoiseach's commitment that Fine Gael will abolish the USC and equalise the tax treatment of the self-employed if re-elected. Listen here.

Media request - ‘Ireland’s Call’ – A Prime Time Special

RTÉ  invite SFA members to attend the live broadcast of ‘Ireland’s Call’ – A Prime Time Special.

The programme will debate the question of a United Ireland and will be broadcast tomorrow, Wednesday, 4 November from RTÉ in Donnybrook at 10.30pm with attendees arriving at 9.15pm.


The focus of the programme will be on the question of a united Ireland, but also looking at other social and economic issues. For example, the difference a single economy would make to small businesses, or how cross-border shopping has effected businesses in the area over the years, through booms and busts.

If you would like to attend as a member of the audience please contact Patricia Callan on tel 01 605 1602 or email: patricia.callan@sfa.ie

BUSINESS BYTES
Buying or selling a business - FREE Seminar
 
Business Byte Image
This seminar on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 is for those interested in buying or selling a business, now or in the future.

SFA Business Bytes, with the support of Bord Gáis Energy, offer unparalleled access to a wide range of high quality training events which are entirely free of change to attend.

The events take place on the second Wednesday of each month. The upcoming seminar will take place on 11 November 2015.

Hosted by Mazars, this seminar is for those interested in buying or selling a business, now or in the future. It will cover:

  • Preparing your business for sale
  • Succession in a family business
  • Management buy out
  • Tax planning
  • How to source a business for sale
  • Exercising due diligence
  • Matching talent and funding
  • Raising finance for investment and purchase


Gerry Vahey, Tax Partner at Mazars, and John Bowe, Managing Director at Mazars Corporate Finance, will deliver the seminar.

Date: Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Time: 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Venue: Mazars, Block 3, Harcourt Centre, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2


If there are specific aspects of this topic that are relevant to your business and you would like the seminar to focus on, please contact Linda Barry, SFA Assistant Director, on 01-6051626 or linda.barry@sfa.ie

The seminar will last for approximately one hour with an opportunity to network with peers before and after. Refreshments will be provided.

This event is entirely free of charge but you must pre-register online.