SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to the this edition of the SFA e-zine. 


Thank you again to everyone that attended Business Connect 2020, and well done to all of our Awards Finalists that exhibited their products and services. It was a successful day full of informative sessions, entertainment and great networking. If you haven't already, please take three minutes to answer the feedback form on the event, and have a look at the photo gallery.  


This week, we are delighted announce the launch of our Taxation Webinar Series supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes focusing on different areas of taxation relevant to small businesses. 


We update members about the microbead ban that was recently signed into law. 


Published at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the new Accenture report highlights the need for responsible leadership. 


With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, prepare your workplace and employees to deal with the potential impact of contagion.  


Enter for your chance to win YOUR LOGO printed on the back of the referee’s jerseys during round 17 of the Guinness PRO14 competition - this means that you will have your company logo on 7 Jerseys at 7 different stadiums televised to 140 different countries! This competition has been organised by our partners in Big Red Cloud.


Finally, members will have noticed that our colleagues in Ibec are currently conducting the Ibec Pay Survey 2020 – results of which allow the SFA and Ibec to track key pay trends. I would encourage members to take part in this survey an if you haven't received the survey please contact research@ibec.ie before the end of February.  We also give an overview of our coverage in the media.


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 our website.


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director


SFA in the media
  • Business Connect

Business Connect

Following Business Connect 2020, The Irish Examiner and Donegal Post covered the SFA calling on the next government to support small businesses in navigating the procurement process.

Microbead Ban

An update on the legislation surrounding the upcoming Microbead Ban...

The microbead ban has been signed into law and will commence shortly.   


This legislation may be of relevant to your business as microbeads can be using in the following: 

  • contained in any detergent, fabric softener, conditioner, bleaching agent or solvent 

  • used in household and industrial cleaning products where the microbeads act as an abrasive scouring agent  

  • contained in a substance that is used during the preparation for cleaning of any surface, article or material in cosmetic products 

The Act provides for the prohibition on the manufacture or placing on the Irish market of certain products containing microbeads and to impose restrictions in relation to the disposal of substances containing microbeads.  


Please see FAQs below.


What is the Definition used for plastic microbeads in the regulation? 


The definition of a plastic microbead is written in law as a ‘solid plastic particle that is— 


(a) not water soluble, 


(b) not more than 5 millimetres at its widest point, and 


(c) not less than one nanometre at its narrowest point; Where “plastic” means a synthetic polymer that



(a) can be moulded, extruded or physically manipulated into different shapes, and 


(b) that retains its final manufactured shape when used for the purpose for which it was manufactured; 


It is critical each company reviews their ingredients taking into account the definition of a plastic microbead in law as this is specific to capture a solid plastic microbead and not other particles in your product.  The definition will capture the same plastic microbeads which are currently banned in rinse off cosmetics in UK.  


What is the Scope of the Legislation? 


The scope written in the law, medical products and sun screens are exempted.  The scope is as follows: 


(1) A person shall not manufacture or place on the market a cosmetic product that



(a) is water soluble, and 


(b) contains microbeads in excess of the permitted concentration. 


(2) A person shall not manufacture or place on the market a cleaning product that



(a) is water soluble, and 


(b) contains microbeads in excess of the permitted concentration. 


(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence. 


(4) It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence consisting of a contravention of subsection (1) or (2) for the defendant to show that he or she took all measures reasonably necessary to prevent such contravention. 


(5) In this section “permitted concentration” means, in relation to a cosmetic product or cleaning product containing microbeads, a concentration of microbeads that does not result in the aggregate weight of the microbeads in the product exceeding 0.01 per cent of the weight of the product.


What is the interpretation of “water soluble products”? 


Water soluble product would be considered products that can be cleaned using water as a solvent.  It is rinse/wash off product- any product that that requires a wipe or cleaner to be removed is not captured under this Legislation.   We are seeking further written clarification from the authorities and will add it to this Q&A as soon as it is available.     


Do sun protection products fall under this Ban?


Sun protection products are excluded from the scope of the ban. 


Is there a transition period? 


As it stands there is No transition period.  


Disposal of Microbeads? 


It is an offence under the Act to dispose of any substance containing microbeads down the drain or into fresh or aquatic waters of any kind (including ground waters etc). This is subject to the principle of reasonability.  For example,  A similar example might be if you emptied the engine oil out of your car, it is against the law to pour the used engine oil down the drain, but you are allowed to wash your hands if oil gets on them. 


Who is the regulator? 


The Environmental Protection Agency is the primary authority given powers of implementation under the Act, although Customs Agents or Gardaí may have a role as appropriate. 


What if you have a product on the market prior to the 1st January? 


Clarification is being sought from the authorities and the FAQs will be updated as soon as available.


SFA Taxation Webinar Series

Book on to our new Taxation Webinar Series focusing on information that is relevant to you and your business...

The SFA is delighted to announce our Taxation Webinar Series supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes. This is a great opportunity for SFA members to be informed about a particular area of taxation relevant to you and your business.   


The SFA Taxation Webinar Series will be delivered by Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes. These webinars will provide you with information on topical tax issues affecting businesses today such as PAYE, Remuneration of Employees and VAT.


The webinars will take place on:   

  • PAYE Health Check – Wednesday, 19th February at 11am.  
  • Tax Tips for your Business – Wednesday, 4th March at 11am.  
  • VAT Health Check – Wednesday, 25th March at 12pm.  

See below for more information and to register.   


SFA Taxation Series – PAYE Health Check


This webinar will provide you with information on company cars, company loans, contractors, inbound and outbound employees and various other PAYE considerations. 


The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 19th February at 11am. Click here to register.  


SFA Taxation Series – Tax Tips for your Business  


This webinar will provide you with information on the effective remuneration of employees and will give you advise and tips on the many forms of corporate taxes small businesses encounter.    


The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 4th March at 11am. Click here to register.   


SFA Taxation Series – VAT Health Check   


This webinar will provide you with information to ensure that VAT is being calculated and accounted correctly within your business.   


The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 25th March at 12pm. Click here to register.  

Coronavirus Preparedness

Breaking down the challenges employers face with protecting the workplace and employees...

The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) presents the challenge to employers of protecting a workplace and employees amid uncertainty about the potential impact of contagion. Ireland is currently monitoring the situation and the HSE HPSC is updating its website daily.  At present there are no laboratory confirmed cases in Ireland. Please consult here for travel advice. All non-essential travel to mainland China should be avoided. 


During crisis situations, rumour can abound. Therefore, it is important that employers have a robust communication strategy in place to: 

  • offer up-to-date reliable and consistent information to employees, suppliers and customers.
  • clarify the company’s procedures and policies. 

Employers need to make sure everyone is familiar with company policies on absence, sick leave, lay-off and short time and force majeure as well as the relevant employment legislation such as Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2015 and the Payment of Wages Act 1991. Managers must be prepared to deal with these issues as they arise, and employees need to be clear what is required of them. SFA members can seek advice on any of the above at any time. 


It is essential to stay healthy and hand hygiene is of paramount importance. There are several HSE campaign posters available, which can be used to heighten awareness among employees.  
Key areas to consider: 

  • Designing a cough/sneeze protocol and correct hand washing procedure;
  • Reducing the length and proximity of gatherings between employees/others, instead making greater use of email and teleconferences);
  • Ensuring there are adequate supplies of infectious control supplies (e.g., tissues, bins, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitisers);
  • Considering non-essential travel restrictions;
  • Considering reasonable options for high risk individuals (particularly employees with health concerns or who are pregnant). 

It is important for employers to look at their internal policies and procedures to evaluate what impact such disruptions could have on their operations, ability to meet customer demands or in cases of illness on the company sick pay scheme, etc. 

Where an employee has contracted an illness, they should not attend work and should follow the advice of their medical practitioner. Employees who have been in contact with individuals who have a virus should attend work unless they are personally showing signs or symptoms of that virus. Some employees may fail to attend for work for fear of catching a virus. This is not a justifiable reason for absence and should be dealt with under the company’s disciplinary procedure, as with any unexcused absence. 


Guidance and information regarding people returning to work from China can be found here.  


The FAQs document on the HPSC website also details instructions for employers in this situation, linked here (see section 21 in particular).


Careful planning and preparation by employers should encourage readiness for any disruption to normal operations and the implications this will have for organisations. However, situations may arise in organisations that will be unique to that operation and in this case, member employers should contact Emma.crowley@sfa.ie or 01 6051668 



New Accenture Report: Responsible Leadership

Published at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Accenture report highlights the need for responsible leadership...

In their recently published report ‘responsible leadership for a sustainable and equitable world’ Accenture emphasize that at the beginning of the new decade, businesses and organisations are facing a range of challenges that are forcing them to redefine responsible leadership: 

  • Climate change: 65% of business leaders agree that they need to decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources. 

  • Global economic fragility: 87% of business leaders believe that global and economic systems need to refocus on equitable growth. 

  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution: New technologies have to be managed for both their potential promise and their peril. 

  • The risk of leaving people behind in the workplace: Investment in emerging technologies doubled 2017-2019, but only 18% of organisations planned to significantly increase spending to reskill their people in the next three years. 

A new model of responsible leadership is required.


Today’s leaders need to deliver value on three fronts: organisational performance, measured most often by short-term earnings; continuous innovation, the seedbed for longer-term growth, often propelled by emerging technology; and sustainability & trust, earned by attending to the interests of stakeholders. 


What leadership attributes are required to achieve all three objectives? Accenture asked approximately 2,000 business leaders and 3,000 stakeholders. Accenture also asked more than 1,800 emerging leaders in the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers communities. From this emerged:


The five elements model of responsible leadership. 

  • Stakeholder Inclusion. Safeguarding trust and positive impact for all by standing in the shoes of diverse stakeholders when making decisions and fostering an inclusive environment where diverse individuals have a voice and feel they belong.  

  • Emotion & Intuition. Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.  

  • Mission & Purpose. Advancing common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organisation and its stakeholders.  

  • Technology & Innovation. Creating new organisational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.  

  • Intellect & Insight. Finding ever-improving paths to success by embracing continuous learning and knowledge exchange.  

Company executives recognise that leaders of responsible businesses need to exhibit all Five Elements. They place strong emphasis on Technology & Innovation. But companies’ stakeholders see things differently. Consumers, employees and others have a far greater interest in leaders with highly developed Mission & Purpose and Emotion & Intuition. This suggests that organisations may find it hard to meet the expectations of wider society unless they modify their leadership qualities and seek a stronger and more balanced Five Elements profile. 


You can access the full report and its recommendations here

Brilliant Basics - Grow your sales
  • 26 February

Key take-aways: 

  • Focus on 3 key markets to grow your sales and achieve your sales targets in 2020.  
  • Develop a 4-step process for pipeline management. 
  • Understand networking as a new business development strategy for growth.  

Our speaker Jo Collins will help you to focus on your sales plan and re-energize your team. The event will also be a great opportunity for networking with owners of local small businesses and to hear about practical digital solutions for your business from Three. 


About the speaker: Jo Collins, through Sales Performance, works with business owners who want to develop their salespeople and improve sales results. With over 25 years’ experience in sales and sales management, Jo has a very practical approach to increasing sales performance. Having been directly involved in many sales roles, Jo has a great blend of practical knowledge in addition to the theory of Sales and Sales Management. 


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

This event is entirely free of charge, but we kindly ask you to register in advance. 


Date: 26th February 2020
Time: 18:30 - 20:30
Duration: 2 hours
Venue: Three Store Kilkenny
Address: 76 High Street
R95 E398


Programme :






Registration and networking 



Welcome and Introduction 

Three and SFA 


Sales: Doing the basics brilliantly 

Jo Collins, Sales Performance Consulting and Sales Training Services  


Case Study 

Hoban Hotel Kilkenny 








Event ends  

Webinar: PAYE Health Check
  • 19 February

The SFA is delighted to announce our taxation webinar series supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes. This is a great opportunity for you to be informed about a particular area of tax that is relevant to you and your business.

The first webinar of the series PAYE Health Check will be delivered by Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes. This webinar will provide you with information on company cars, company loans, contractors, inbound and outbound employees and various other PAYE considerations.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 19th February at 11am.

Click here to register for the PAYE Health Check webinar.

Webinar: Tax Tips for your Business
  • 4 March

In this 20-minute webinar, Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, provides SFA members with Tax Tips to consider for their business.

This webinar will provide you with information on the effective remuneration of employees and will give you advise and tips on the many forms of corporate taxes small businesses encounter.

This webinar is part of a series of taxation webinars supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, that will discuss some of the topical tax issues affecting small businesses today.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 4th March at 11am.

Click here to register for the Tax Tips for your Business webinar.