SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine. 


Thank you to everyone that attended the SFA Members Christmas Evening last week.  If you missed it, be sure to book your spot for Business Connect 2020 taking place in Aviva Stadium on 6 February.  


Before we close out the final year of the decade, we send out our final SFA Newsletter of 2019.  We have taken a look back at some of your most-read articles of the year to recirculate - the top two were "New changes made to parental leave" and "Ensure you can still trade with the UK after Brexit", both from the 30 July issue.  


Are you hiring temporary holiday staff?  Make sure you are familiar with the key considerations for your business when recruiting these employees.  As we prepare for a new year, we provide information for members with a commercial lease on the importance of registering leases with the PRSA. We also highlight the importance of being aware of payroll and invoicing fraud scams during busy Christmas and year-end period.


If you were unable to listen live or wish to listen again to toady’s webinar on economic information relevant to your business planning and budgeting needs, you can watch it here. We also provide a summary of our recent press coverage


Please note our holiday hours, as we will have limited staff available.

  • Monday, 23 December – Normal business hours
  • Tuesday, 24 December – Thursday 26 December - Closed 
  • Thursday, 27 December – Open 10am - 4pm (contact Sven on 01 605 1602 or Emma Crowley on 01 605 1668)
  • Friday, 28 December – Open 10am - 4pm (contact Sven on 01 605 1602 or Emma Crowley on 01 605 1668)
  • Monday, 30 December – Normal business hours
  • Tuesday, 31 December – Wednesday 1 January - Closed
  • Thursday, 2 January 2019 - Back to normal business hours 

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.


From all of us here at the Small Firms Association, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - see you in 2020!


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director



SFA in the media
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Paternity Leave
  • New SFA Chair


The SFA featured in the following publications.


Small Business Saturday

This Holiday season, the SFA have been encouraging the public to shop local and support Irish business, this was mentioned in outlets such as The Avondhu, Leinster Express and Connaught Telegraph.

SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens also spoke about Small Business Saturday on various radio stations, including Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk), Kilkenny/Carlow Local Radio, Radio Kerry, Tipp FM, Kildare FM, Newstalk Breakfast, Newstalk News Bulletin and Northern Sound.  


Paternity Leave

SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens was mentioned in the Irish Indepedent regarding paid paternity leave.  


New SFA Chair

Following the announcement of the newly elected SFA Chair, Graham Byrne and the SFA were mentioned in The Echo and The Irish Examiner.

Graham was also interviewd on KCLR's business show The Bottom Line on Saturday, 14 December.  



Temporary Holiday Staff

Make sure you are familiar with these key considerations for your business when recruiting temporary staff for the holidays...

With just over a week to go to Christmas, the main priority for businesses, especially retailers, is ensuring you have enough stock on your shelves and enough staff to assist with the surge in sales. If you require extra help, temporary or seasonal workers can be the ideal solution to this short-term increase in business, without committing to permanent staff. Bearing this in mind, this article sets out some key considerations for your business when recruiting these employees.  


The key to employing staff, especially seasonal workers who may be rushed into the business, is to clearly define the terms and conditions. In doing this, you will reduce the risk of possible disputes whether by permanent or temporary staff. 

The Employment protection rights of temporary employees on fixed-term contracts should be the same as those permanent to the business. Considering how stressful the Christmas period can be it is important to remember that even seasonal employees are entitled to a written statement of their terms of employment within the first 5 days of the employee commencing which should include; Full name of employee and employer, Address of business place, The date of the start and the end of the contract or specific purpose expiry (if applicable), Rate of pay and its calculation, Number of expected number of hours (per day and week). 


It is important to note that temporary staff are covered by the Fixed Term Work Act 2003 which protects fixed-term workers from being treated less favourably than comparable permanent workers. The working conditions of the seasonal workers must be consistent with those who are permanent. (i.e. Annual leave accrual, rates of pay, rest periods, etc). 


In addition, if you decide to renew the fixed term contract after Christmas, the employee should be informed in writing justifying the renewal and explain why a permanent contract is not being offered by the date of the renewal at the latest. (The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 to 2005 will apply). 

If you prefer to pass the paperwork and payment responsibilities onto a third party (I.e. hiring temporary staff through an agency) In this event, their employment will be protected by the Protection of Employees – Temporary Agency Work Act 2012. This Act states that temporary agency workers must receive equal treatment in their working and employment conditions. 

For further information in this area, you should refer to the SFA guidelines on fixed term workers. For specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01 605 1668 or at emma.crowley@sfa.ie 


Don’t forget to file a Commercial Lease Return

Helpful information on registering your commercial leases with the PRSA...

Tenants of commercial properties who have entered into a lease since 2012 are statutorily required to file a Commercial Lease Return with the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) 

The return can be made, free of charge, online at http://psr.ie/en/psra/pages/commercial-leases.  


Details submitted on these returns are published on the Commercial Leases Register on www.psr.ie and includes the address and type of property, length of lease, details of rent, fitting out and any other charges and costs associated with the lease.  


The purpose of this Register is to facilitate transparency in the Commercial rental market. It provides a valuable source of information for those about to enter into commercial leases in enabling them to view and compare the cost of similar leases entered into.   


The PSRA therefore encourages all tenants of commercial leases to fulfil their statutory requirement to complete a commercial lease return on entering into a new lease.   


The Commercial Leases Unit of the PSRA can be contacted on 046 9033800 or by email at commlease@psr.ie for further information or assistance in making a return.  

Fraud alert: payroll and invoicing scams on the rise

Be aware of payroll and invoicing fraud scams during busy Christmas and year end period...

FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), is warning Irish businesses to beware of increasing levels of payroll and invoicing scams which fraudsters will take advantage of in the busy lead into Christmas and year end.


A new payroll fraud scam is on the rise, with fraudsters targeting HR and payroll departments to defraud employee wages and salaries. By hacking or accessing the email account of an employee, fraudsters can send what appear to be genuine emails to HR or payroll department requesting that wages or salaries be paid into a new bank account. FraudSMART is urging businesses to verify all such emails with their employees verbally in advance of making any changes to payroll details.  


FraudSMART is also warning businesses to be extra vigilant to invoicing fraud scams which may take advantage of the hectic Christmas trading and year-end period. Invoice re-direction fraud sees businesses receive a request, usually by email, from a fraudster posing as one of their legitimate suppliers and advising that their bank accounts details have changed. Given the deadline and supply pressures which businesses are under at this time of year, employees may find themselves making changes to bank accounts details, without first checking by telephone with the suppliers. Invoice fraud emails play on appearing authentic and will mirror an email regularly received from a supplier, including logos and signoffs. If the business fails to check the source of the request all future payments from the business will unknowingly be sent to the fraudsters account. 


FraudSMART has issued the following advice in respect of these latest scams: 

  • Have a verification process in place before changing saved bank account details of your employees, suppliers or service providers. 

  • Verify the change by contacting the employee or a known contact of the supplier/service provider, use contact details held on record or a contact number on the supplier’s website. Do not to use the contact details on the email/letter requesting the change as these could be fraudulent. 

  • Inform employees of this fraud so they are alert to it and can avoid it. 

FraudSMART has developed an information booklet ‘Protect Your Business from Fraud’ aimed specifically at the business community. This brochure is available for download here


SFA Webinar: economic information relevant to your business planning and budgeting

If you were unable to listen live or wish to listen again to toady’s webinar on economic information relevant to your business planning and budgeting needs, watch it here...

This morning the SFA hosted a webinar to provide members with economic information to support the preparation of budgets and business plans.  


In this 19 minute webinar, Hazel Ahern-Flynn, Ibec's economist, provides members with an overview of the latest economic data on GDP growth, employment figures and labour costs. 


This webinar will be of interest to small business owners as they prepare for the coming 12 months. 


If you were unable to listen live or wish to listen again visit the SFA website.

Business Connect 2020
  • 6 February

Business Connect is an event that brings together small business with leading medium and large companies across a wide range of industries. It is an opportunity to hear from small firms that have succeeded in securing major customers and clients and delegates also get a rare view inside the buying processes and decision making in some of Ireland’s leading companies.


The event will be attended by over 300 businesses large and small and it is a great platform for learning and networking. The event also showcases the best in Irish small business through the SFA Awards Programme, where awards finalists and emerging new businesses exhibit along with SFA awards sponsors and partners.


Our 2020 event will have three sessions

  • Getting the business
  • Influencing to win the business (delivered by David Meade) and
  • Sustaining Ambition – Innovation and Sustainability


Doors will open from 8.30am for registration and networking with sessions starting at 9.30am. The event will conclude at 1pm with a networking lunch.


Member Rate: €49 + VAT

Non-Member Rate: €99 + VAT



SFA Skillnet Online: GDPR Programme
  • Online

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a ground-breaking piece of data protection legislation, which came into force on 25 May 2018, has a significant impact on all organisations, as it enhances the data protection rights of employees, imposes specific obligations on employers and introduces severe financial penalties for non-compliance.


Enrol your staff and managers to ensure they are informed of their obligations under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and GDPR.


This course will provide participants with the knowledge to:

• Describe personal information and data subject rights
• Define consent
• Explain the role of the Data Protection Commission, Data Controller, Data Processor and the Data Protection Officer
• Determine accountability
• Conduct breach management and outline our role in the prevention of breaches
• Outline data subject access requests
• Understand the issue of privacy and its implications


Member rate €70 | Non-member rate €80


Book on here

SFA Skillnet Online: The factors behind unsatisfactory performance
  • Online

The factors behind unsatisfactory performance 




This course will help you develop a deeper understanding of the drivers behind unsatisfactory behaviour or performance of a person and so enable you to give the person real help. It will also give you the clues and the pointers to find out what is really going on with the person with unsatisfactory performance.  

Content includes 

  • To help you to get beyond the unsatisfactory performer’s behaviour and to find out what the real issue is. 
  • To strengthen your skills and avoid time wasting in relation to performance management. 
  • Enable you to become a more effective change agent. 



While you could take this course in an hour or so, it is our recommendation that it be taken over the course of a week to allow you to reflect on learning, check your understanding and plan how you will begin to apply the learnings. 


Trainer profile 


This is an online training programme delivered by Maybe International and its founder Brian F. Smyth. Brian has over 20 years of experience helping organisations in different parts of the world to achieve new levels of performance, success and overall well-being. Most of these organisations were large global companies in North and South America, Asia and in different countries across Europe. Others were non-profit organisations or smaller businesses both in Ireland and overseas. What they all had in common was a need or desire to achieve more and be more than they had previously been. He claims they all made it! 


Book your place here