SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.

 

Following a successful launch of the SFA Skillnet at the SFA Smart Business Conference, we are pleased to announce that our subsidised training programmes start this month with courses on sales, people management and leadership and management. I was delighted to meet some of our members at our conference last week in the Aviva Stadium, read on for highlights of the event

 

In advance of the Local Elections on Friday, 24 May the SFA has, today, launched a new policy paper entitled ‘Getting Local Economies Brexit Readywhich highlights, the growing concern amongst small business that not enough is being done by local authorities to address the continued competitiveness erosion of our towns and villages or to help local small businesses address the uncertainty of Brexit.

 

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have issued a new Parental Leave and Benefit Bill which gives both parents two weeks paid parental leave within the first year of a child’s life, we advise on how this will impact your employees. 

 

The SFA is seeking members views on the Commission for Regulation of Utilities proposed decision on Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework which will apply to Irish Water’s non-domestic customers.

 

During May we are hosting two Business Bytes events both seminars will provide attendees with a HR update and are taking place in Dublin on 15 May and in Cork on 29 May, register your place now. Following in the smart business theme, the final event in our regional Smart Business Workshops is happening in Galway on 21 May. We also provide a summary of 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 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
Recent press coverage
 
  • Smart Business Conference
  • Irish Banking Culture Board
  • Parental leave
  • EU elections

 


Smart Business Conference

The launch of the Smart Business Conference was announced via press release on 16 April. This was covered in the Irish Times on 29 April. A press release was issued on the event on 2 May, this was covered in the Irish Independent on 3 May.

 

Irish Banking Culture Board

 

Sue O’Neill, chair of the Small Firms Association, appointment to the Irish Banking Culture Board was covered in the Irish Examiner on 26 April.

 

Parental leave / EU elections

SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens took part in a panel discussion on parental leave and the EU elections on RTE Radio Saturday on 27 April. 

NEWS
Training €95 per day for eligible SFA members
 

Following a successful launch of the SFA Skillnet at the Smart Business Conference, we are delighted to announce that our subsidised training programmes start this month...


Having successfully secured funding from Skillnet Ireland earlier this year and launched our SFA Skillnet at the Smart Business Conference, we are delighted to announce that our subsidised training programmes start this month. The first three programmes are the most popular highlighted by members and you can book them now:

 

Course

Date/Dates

Location

Details and Booking

A Master Class in Sales

22 May 2019

Dublin

Click here

Essential People Management Skills (2 day programme)

28 May & 11 June 2019

Dublin

Click here

Leadership & Management Skills (2 day programme)

23 May & 13 June 2019

 

Dublin

Click here

 

The cost of open programmes is heavily subsidised for SFA members with a one day programme costing €95 and a two day programme costing €190. We can also help organise and part-fund in-house training so get in touch if you would like to discuss this option.

 

We will be sending you details of further courses soon and if you have any needs for training or feedback please pick up the phone or email.

 

Note: The rate for non-members is €145 per day and €290 for a two day programme. Skillnet Ireland is mandated to support private sector enterprise. The following categories cannot become member companies of a training network: public sector organisations; charity or not-for-profit organisations; and companies based outside the Republic of Ireland. SFA members who fall in to these categories can still take part in the training courses organised by the SFA Skillnet by paying the unsubsidised rate.

 

Please contact Geraldine Lavin, SFA Skillnet Network Manager, on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 01 6051606 to discuss your training needs and to get assistance with your training analysis.

 

The SFA Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

Greater supports for small firms needed to get local economies Brexit ready
 

In advance of the Local Elections on Friday, 24 May 24 the SFA has, today, launched a new policy paper entitled ‘Getting Local Economies Brexit Ready’...


In advance of the Local Elections on Friday, 24 May 24 the SFA has, today, launched a new policy paper entitled‘Getting Local Economies Brexit Ready’.

 

Getting Local Economies Brexit Ready highlights, the growing concern amongst small business that not enough is being done by local authorities to address the continued competitiveness erosion of our towns and villages or to help local small businesses address the uncertainty of Brexit.

 

The SFA is calling for local authorities and candidates in the 2019 local elections to:

  • Ensure local authorities are Brexit ready
  • Progress on local authority and commercial rates reform
  • Framework for Town Centre Renewal to be adopted by all local authorities
  • Local authorities to work alongside government to deliver key infrastructure projects including broadband
  • Continued support and investment for green initiatives

We encourage you to access both the press statement and a pdf copy of 'Getting Local Economies Brexit Ready

 

Ibec recently launched a major European Parliament election campaign

 

The key campaign priorities are:

  • The elections are an opportunity to strengthen Ireland’s influence in the European Parliament, in its political parties and on its policy committees;
  • The EU remains a model of global co-operation, but further progress is required in the areas of digitalisation and global trade;
  • A deepening of the Single Market will open new economic opportunities and drive job creation;
  • The EU should continue to advance ambitious, balanced trade agreements with its partners. This should include a comprehensive and ambitious future trading relationship with the UK post-Brexit, in addition to closer trading and investment partnerships with the US and China; and
  • The next European Parliament must work to deliver a sustainable economic future for Europe by supporting carbon-reduction goals that are ambitious, achievable, cost-effective and do not leave business or citizens behind.

The SFA joins Ibec’s call for action that encourages members and citizens to:

  • Find out more about the European Parliament and how its decisions impact your business and your jobs;
  • Tell the candidates how creating the right conditions for business can improve living standards, generate tax revenues, and lead to new jobs;
  • And inform your employees of the benefits that the EU provides for your business;
  • Encourage voting.

Members can access both the press statement and a pdf copy of Ibec’s European Parliament elections 2019 campaign via this link.

New Parental Leave and Benefit Bill gives both parents two weeks paid parental leave
 

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have issued a new Parental Leave and Benefit Bill which gives both parents two weeks paid parental leave within the first year of a child’s life...


It is expected that the Parental Leave and Benefit Bill will be in force by 1 November 2019. This bill will provide both parents of the child with two weeks paid parental leave to be taken within the first year of the child’s life. The payment of €245 per week will be made by the State.

 

It has been introduced to enable both parents to spend more time with their child during the first year of their life and will be in addition to the following protective leaves:

  • 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and up to 16 weeks unpaid additional maternity leave to mothers
  • 2 weeks of paid paternity leave to fathers to be taken within six months after the birth of the child
  • 24 weeks of paid adoptive leave to adopting mothers and sole male adopters as well as up to 16 weeks of unpaid additional adoptive leave
  • 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave for each child to each parent and the leave must be taken before the child reaches eight years or 16 years in the case of a child with a disability or long-term illness

It is expected that this two weeks’ benefit will expand to seven weeks’ leave by 2021 and the following elements will apply:

  • Each parent will be entitled to the leave where the birth date of the child falls on or after 1 November 2019 or the day of placement in the case of adoption is on or after 1 November 2019
  • An employee will be required to have 12 months continuous service in order to qualify for this parental leave
  • The leave is non transferable between parents, except in case where one parent dies, all or any remaining leave is transferred to the other parent
  • The parental leave must be taken within the first year of the child’s life otherwise the benefit is lost if it is not used
  • The parental leave is not allowed to be taken before the date of birth or in the case of adoption, before the date of placement
  • The period of leave taken cannot be less than one week in duration. For example, a parent can take two individual weeks off or the entire two weeks leave together
  • Each parent who takes this leave continues to accrue annual leave and public holiday entitlement
  • Employees who take this leave are entitled to return to the same role, terms and conditions of employment when they return to work
  • The employee is required to give the employer a minimum of four weeks written notice of their intention to take this leave

If you have any specific concerns or questions please contact Helen on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit the advice section on our website.

Call for input: Changes to water charges for businesses
 

The SFA is seeking members views on the Commission for Regulation of Utilities proposed decision on Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework which will apply to Irish Water’s non-domestic customers...


In August, the SFA made a submission to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) on Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework. The CRU has now analysed this and other submissions and issued a paper setting out their proposed decision on Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework which will apply to Irish Water’s non-domestic customers.

 

View the CRU Proposed Decision paper.

 

The CRU Proposed Decision paper is drafted to inform affected customers and interested parties of the CRU’s proposed decision and provides stakeholders with another opportunity to provide input prior to the CRU reaching a final decision on the Tariff Framework and non-domestic tariff rates.

 

In our 2018 submission the SFA sought an increase of the Standard class threshold to 2,000m3 per year. Unfortunately, this proposal was not adopted by the CRU but the standing charge has been reduced so some members should see a reduction in their new charge. In addition, we were disappointed to be informed that Irish Water will not set out the details of its proposed process to classifying customers until Phase 2 of this Project (in Q4 2019). We continue to have questions on transitional rules.

 

The SFA welcomes the decision that for connections that will face an annual bill increase of €750 or greater, Irish Water is to automatically apply a 10% cap (if required) to their annual bill increase in any one year. We also welcome clarification around any possible changes to billing schedules.

 

We would encourage members to use the Irish Water Business Tariff Calculator to get an idea of what your new charge could be and to let us know your views on this and the CRU’s Proposed Decision paper. Feedback should be sent no later than close of business on Thursday, 9 May to elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie, in order for us to draft our submission in enough time.

 

Please note that the new tariffs will not be implemented (and applied to customers’ bills) until the start of Q2 2020, providing customers with approximately nine months to plan for this. 

 

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact SFA Senior Executive, Elizabeth Bowen on elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

Highlights from the Smart Business Conference
 

More than 300 members, small business owners, business partners and other stakeholders attended the SFA Smart Business Conference on 2 May 2019 in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin...


More than 300 members, small business owners, business partners and other stakeholders attended the SFA Smart Business Conference on 2 May 2019 in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The theme of the conference was 'Innovate or Expire', and through a series of expert speakers and case studies, the conference explored two main areas:

  1. The future of work – preparing for the work of tomorrow. This session explored the future of work, from smart working, to dealing with a workforce that consists of five generations.
  2. Innovate or expire, how small businesses can leverage technology in an age of digital disruption - delegates learned how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other smart technologies are changing how we work.

In his keynote address, Minister of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Richard Bruton TD addressed the many challenges that his Department is trying to tackle such as broadband, climate, waste, communications and energy.

 

At the Smart Business Conference, the SFA launched SFA Skillnet, a multi-sector learning network for small businesses that will promote and facilitate workforce learning through subsided training. 

 

We would like to thank our headline sponsor Vodafone as well as our event partners An Post Decare Dental, One4All and SFA Skillnet for their contribution and support.

Read the full press release from the event and view the photo highlights on our Facebook page

EVENTS
Business Bytes: Employment law seminar
 
  • 15 May, Dublin
  • 29 May, Cork

The SFA Business Bytes events, which are entirely free of charge, offer small businesses access to expert information and advice and an opportunity to network with their peers. The series is supported by Bord Gáis Energy.

 

During the month of May we are hosting two events in this series, one in Dublin and one in Cork.

 

Dublin event

  • Date: Wednesday, 15 May 2019
  • Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Venue: SFA Offices, 84-86 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2

Cork event

  • Date: Wednesday, 29 May 2019
  • Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Venue: Maryborough Hotel, Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Co. Cork

With so many changes taking place in today’s workplace an understanding of employment laws is now more essential than ever before. In these Business Bytes event we will cover the following to help your business approach these changes:

  1.  Contracts of employment and recent legislative changes to them;
  2. Need to hire but want to understand the different types of working scenarios available to your business from hiring part timers to remote workers; and
  3. What you need to know when hiring a self-employed contractor.

The presentation will be delivered by Helen Quinn, the SFA’s in-house HR and employment law advisor.  

 

The event is open to SFA members and non-members. It will last for approximately one hour with an opportunity to network before and after. Refreshments will be provided.

 

These events are entirely free of charge, but you must pre-register:

Smart Business Workshops
 
  • Galway, 21 May

The Small Firms Association and Vodafone have partnered to help businesses grow, scale and succeed in a changing business environment.

 

Alongside Abodoo, Vodafone will share the benefits of smart or flexible working and how to implement it in your business to increase productivity and attract and retain talent through a series of regional workshops. You will also learn about increasing your profits through employee-led models from the SFA.

 

Set within co-working spaces, you will gain insight into:

  • The benefits of smart working and why you should avail of it
  • How technology can empower your business to work anywhere at any time through technology, connectivity and security
  • How to increase sales and profits by ensuring that every employee is a profit centre and loves what they do

The final event in this series will take place in The Portershed, Galway on 21 May, 8:00 - 9:30am

 

This event is free of charge and pre-registration online is essential. Places are limited so please book now through the above link to avoid missing out.

 

Agenda:

 

Time Topic Speaker
8:00 – 8:30 Breakfast / registration/ networking  
8:30 – 8:35 Welcome Sven Spollen-Behrens, Small Firms Association
8:35 – 8:45

How to increase your sales and profits and engage your people

Marina Bleahen, Engage and Grow

8:45– 8:50

What is smart working?

Vanessa Tierney, Abodoo

8:50 – 9:00

The four pillars of smart working

Treasa Doran, Vodafone

9:00 – 9:05 Implementing smart working in your business Vanessa Tierney, Abodoo
9:05 – 9:30 Q&A and roundtable discussion