SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.

 

In this edition, we outline three good reasons why businesses should keep working time records of the hours worked by their employees.

 

With much of the media focusing on the Government’s newly launched Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown, the SFA is seeking members’ views and opinions on how the Government could use revenues raised from increases in Carbon Tax.

 

As the deadline of September 2019 approaches, we remind members of the new requirements for authenticating online payments. Time to take advantage of our training offer for ambitious businesses with courses in June on how to win more business at only €95 per day.

 

Rising insurance costs are one of the biggest issues for many small businesses in Ireland. Save on your business insurance through the O' Leary Insurance Group SFA members affinity insurance scheme.

 

If you have recently joined the SFA or would like to utilise your membership further then tune into our webinar on 24 June which will showcase the SFA services to ensure you get the most out of your SFA membership.

 

We are pleased to announce the SFA Annual Lunch, kindly sponsored by Bank of Ireland will take place on Friday, 15 November in The Round Room, The Mansion House, Dublin. Please save the date in your diaries, bookings for the event will open shortly. 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
 
  • Commercial rates

Commercial rates

 

The SFA was referenced in an article in The Sunday Times on 16 June on hikes in commercial rates. 

NEWS
Why businesses should keep working time records of the hours worked by their employees
 

We outline three good reasons why businesses should keep working time records of the hours worked by their employees…


We outline three good reasons why businesses should keep records of hours worked per day and per week as well as annual leave and public holidays taken by their employees:

  1. This is one of the priority areas that the Workplace Relations Commission focus on in their inspections
  2. The European Court of Justice recently confirmed that employers keep “objective, reliable and accessible” systems to record working hours
  3. Case law

Under section 25 of the Organisation of Working Time Act, often known as the Working Time Act, employers must keep records of all their employees on the hours they have worked. These records must be kept for three years either at the place where the employee works or the principal place of employment and they need to include the following:

  • Daily start and finish times
  • Total number of hours worked per day
  • Total number of hours worked per week
  • A declaration that the employee has received their statutory rest entitlements – more details of what these entail can be found in our Working Time guideline
  • The employee details such as their name, the employer registration number and PPS number
  • The week or month reference that they worked in

Records of when an employee took their annual leave, public holiday and other types of leave should also be recorded.

 

The records can be kept either electronically using an attendance tracker or they can be paper based, a good example of a manual record keeping document is the OWT form which you can download here.

 

According to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) annual report for 2018, 13% of all complaints they received related to Working Time and a lack of working time records was one of the highest issues when it came to inspections carried about by the WRC.

 

A second reason for businesses to keep good working time records is a recent case by the European Court of Justice ruling where employers are required to keep “objective, reliable and accessible” systems that record the number of hours worked by each employee. This ruling applies to all member states and whilst Ireland already applies this ruling through the Organisation of Working Time Act, it could mean that businesses may come under further scrutiny in this area.

 

Finally, the third reason to keep working time records is to help with disputes either internally or in an external matter. In the case of Kepak Convenience Foods vs Grainne O’Hara, Ms O’Hara was employed as a Business Development Executive on a 40-hour working week. As part of her role, she visited clients and recorded her activities and engagement with them on the company system. Ms O’Hara argued that she was unable to complete these tasks within her contracted hours. Under the Working Time Act employees must not work in excess of 48 hours per week over a reference period of 4 months.

 

In the Labour Court hearing, Ms O’Hara argued that she regularly worked in excess of the maximum working week, often working 60 hours per week to keep up with the workload. She produced emails that were sent to clients and her employer between the hours of 5pm and midnight as well as early morning emails.  The email trail included early morning responses from her employer as well.

 

The business argued that they never insisted that Ms O’Hara work outside of her contracted hours, that she received comprehensive training on their system and that she could “comfortably” complete her work within 40-hours but she chose to “adopt a less efficient” method of completing her administrative tasks.

 

The Labour Court found in favour of the employee and awarded her €7,500 based on two factors:

  1. Her employer did not keep a record of her working hours.
  2. They were aware that she worked in excess of the maximum working work which is in breach of the Working Time Act and “took no steps to curtail the time she spent working.

With the increase focus on keeping working time records from a national, European and case law perspective, it is essential that businesses keep working time records.

 

For further information on the Working Time Act and keeping records, please contact Helen Quinn on helen.quinn@sfa.ie or 01 605 1668 or visit the SFA website.

Revenues from Carbon Tax – what would you do with it?
 

With much of the media focusing on the Government’s newly launched Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown, this week the SFA is seeking members’ views and opinions on how the Government could use revenues raised from increases in Carbon Tax...


Carbon Tax was introduced in Ireland in 2009. Since then it has raised over €3 billion in revenue for the Exchequer.

 

The current rate of the Carbon Tax is €20 per tonne on all applicable fuels. The Climate Change Advisory Council have recommended the rate be increased to €80 per tonne by 2030, while the Joint Oireachtas Committee are of the view that a carbon price trajectory would play an important role in the State’s response to climate change.

 

The Department of Finance has opened a Consultation on the options for the use of revenues raised from increases in Carbon Tax. Responses will inform the Tax Strategy Group process and will also feed into the Government’s considerations in reviewing proposals in respect of Carbon Tax ahead of Budget 2020.

 

A copy of the Consultation document is available from the Department’s website.

 

The SFA plan to respond to this Consultation and are seeking members views and opinions to the below questions. In order to draft our submission in enough time, we would ask that you return your contribution before close of business on Wednesday, 19 June to elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

 

Questions

 

Do you agree that additional revenue raised as a result of an increase in the rate of Carbon Tax above €20 per tonne, should be used:

  1. To increase the fuel allowance to compensate those households likely to suffer from fuel poverty;
  2. To enhance the current grants towards the cost of energy efficiency improvements in the homes of those most vulnerable to fuel poverty through the Better Energy Homes scheme or the SEAI Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme;
  3. To fund sustainable transport including cycling infrastructure and public transport;
  4. For broad climate actions (e.g. earmarked to the Climate Action Fund or similar);
  5. To return the proceeds by way of a dividend to citizens or households through the social welfare and/or tax system;
  6. To be set aside to meet any fines the State is liable to pay arising from failure to meet our climate targets;
  7. To act as a buffer against increasing the cost of doing business for businesses with no realistic short to medium term alternative to continued fossil fuel use and for whom fossil fuels constitute a large amount of overall business expenditures (e.g. by enhancing the Diesel Rebate Scheme);
  8. To incentivise business moving away from the use of fossil fuels to more sustainable production methods;
  9. by the Exchequer for general government expenditure;

Otherwise please provide details of your preferred option if different to any of those listed above.

How to win more business – training courses
 

Time to take advantage of our training offer for ambitious businesses – only €95 per course...


Coming up in June, we have two quality hands-on workshops, the first with Andrew Keogh, an international consultant and coach to organisations who need to pitch and present to win sales, and the second with Aisling Hurley, an award-winning expert in gaining more business through digital marketing.

 

We are doing an introductory rate with non-SFA members being able to avail of the member rate, so do let your clients and contacts know about this offer. 

 

Course

Date/Dates

Location

Details and Booking

SFA Skillnet Pitching to Win Business

June 25

Ibec/SFA Offices, Dublin 2

Click here

SFA Skillnet Win More Business with Digital Marketing

June 26

Bank of Ireland (Workbench Branch), Blanchardstown Corporate Park, Dublin 15

Click here

 

If you have any needs for training or feedback on our schedule, please pick up the phone or email. We can also help organise and part-fund in-house training so get in touch if you would like to discuss this option.

 

Contact Geraldine Lavin, the SFA Skillnet Network Manager, on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 087 7871642 to discuss your training needs.

 

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.

Are you ready for PSD2?
 

As the deadline of September 2019 approaches, we remind members of the new requirements for authenticating online payments...


On 14 September 2019, new requirements for authenticating online payments will be introduced in Europe as part of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 mandates that all electronic transactions in the European Economic Area will require Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).

 

The SFA is increasingly concerned that a significant proportion of members especially retailers and hotels may not be able to support this deadline, due to a lack of awareness and the technical challenges involved. The consequences of having a significant number of transactions cancelled on 14 September could lead to significant disruption for small businesses and consumers, resulting in reduced consumer choice and less competition.

 

The SFA urges all members to contact their payment service providers immediately if they have not already done so, to ensure that all the necessary technical changes will be in place by 14 September 2019.

 

What is Strong Customer Authentication?

 

SCA is a new European regulatory requirement to reduce fraud and make online payments more secure. To accept payments once SCA goes into effect, you will need to build additional authentication into your checkout flow:

  • SOMETHING THE CUSTOMER KNOWS(e.g., password or PIN)
  • SOMETHING THE CUSTOMER HAS(e.g., phone or hardware token)
  • SOMETHING THE CUSTOMER IS (e.g., fingerprint or face recognition)

SCA requires authentication to use at least two of the following three elements. From 14 September 2019, banks will decline payments that require SCA and don’t meet these criteria.

 

When is Strong Customer Authentication required?

 

SCA will apply to “customer-initiated” online payments within Europe. As a result, most card payments and all bank transfers will require SCA. Exemptions have been adopted by the European Commission, taking account of the risk involved, the value of transactions and the channels used for the payment. Such exemptions include low value payments at the point of sale (to facilitate the use of mobile and contactless payments) and also for remote (online) transactions. The exemptions from strong customer authentication seek to avoid disrupting the ways consumers, merchants and payment service providers operate today. They are also based on the fact that there are alternative authentication mechanisms that are equally safe and secure.

 

Brexit

 

We would expect SCA regulation to be enforced in the UK, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

 

PSD2 will provide the following opportunities:

  • Reduced fraud rates in the industry and increased trust with consumers.
  • Innovation around two-factor authentication to make the process smoother.
  • A boost in eCommerce as consumers have more online banking and payment options.
  • Merchants can leverage new payment aggregators to increase their strategic information on consumers.

SFA will continue to work closely with members to support:

  • Industry wide communications; and
  • Central Bank of Ireland and Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation engagement.

For additional information or questions please contact elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

Save on your business insurance through our Affinity Scheme
 

Rising insurance costs are one of the biggest issues for many small businesses in Ireland. Save on your business insurance through the O' Leary Insurance Group SFA members affinity insurance scheme...




The SFA Affinity Insurance Scheme in partnership with O’Leary Insurance Group has been designed to cater for all business sectors so whether you are involved in office and consultancy, retail, manufacturing or ICT, we will have a competitive insurance solution to meet your requirements.

 

The O’Leary Insurance Group have agreed bespoke policy covers to include benefits that will be unique to Small Firms Association members. In addition, the quotations issued by the panel of insurers under the scheme arrangement will include a significant discount for Small Firms Association member companies. The policy covers and discounts will be available exclusively through The O’Leary Insurance Group.

 

Find out more about the scheme on our website

 

The SFA Affinity scheme is another perk of SFA membership and allows you to save money, build your brand and drive sales.

  • SFA members can get additional benefits and discounts across a range of products and services such as insurance, utilities, web design, professional services, GDPR services and much more. Browse all the offers
  • SFA / Ibec members can also promote offers to our wide network of members. This helps build your brand within the small business community and in turn drives sales. Contact louise.kenrick@sfa.ie if you are interested in advertising on the affinity platform.
EVENTS
SFA Webinar: Get the most from your SFA membership
 
  • 24 June

Tune in on Monday, 24 June for a 20 minute webinar which will showcase the SFA services to ensure you get the most out of your SFA membership.

 

The webinar will cover:

  • HR, employment law, GDPR and general business advice provided to SFA members
  • Grow, Scale, Succeed online platform
  • SFA Affinity programme
  • How you can market your business to the SFA community
  • The small firm priorities the SFA voice to government
  • Upcoming SFA events
  • SFA Skillnet training courses

The webinar will be delivered by SFA Executive, Louise Kenrick. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions about your membership of the SFA.

 

If you have recently joined the SFA or would like to get a bit more from your membership, then register for this webinar

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Save the date: SFA Annual Lunch
 
  • 12 November 

We are pleased to announce the SFA Annual Lunch, kindly sponsored by Bank of Ireland will take place on Friday, 15 November in The Round Room, The Mansion House, Dublin. Please save the date in your diaries, bookings for the event will open shortly. 

 

This event will gather SFA members, policy makers and stakeholders and it is an excellent opportunity for you, your colleagues, clients and guests to network in a relaxed environment. The guest speaker will be announced shortly. We hope that you can join for this great social event and kick off the festive season.