Welcome to the SFA June News Update
 
Dear Member

Covered in this month's edition of the SFA news update is the Workplace Relations Act 2015, the SFA Members Connect Area on www.sfa.ie and seeking input from members on the Public Consultation on Tax and Entrepreneurship.

We also inform you about the National Rounding Scheme to reduce small coins, Ibec Global Graduates Programme, Grievance Procedures, a Force Majeure Refresher and New Custom Rules.

Also included is information on up and coming events and the SFA's activity in the media during the month of June.  You can also view the video highlights of the SFA Annual Conference "BOOST".

Please do keep us updated on any matters that concern you.

Kind regards

Patricia Callan
SFA Director

SFA Annual Subscription 2015
 

SFA membership is an important asset to your business and if you have not already done so, could I ask you to please remit your annual subscription by return.  My sincere thanks to the many companies who have already responded with their 2015 subscriptions.  As in your own business, we are continuously...


SFA membership is an important asset to your business and if you have not already done so, could I ask you to please remit your annual subscription by return.  My sincere thanks to the many companies who have already responded with their 2015 subscriptions. 

As in your own business, we are continuously seeking to drive efficiency and to provide members with a more flexible method of payment for your subscription by providing a direct debit option.  This will make it easier for you to pay your subscription, by spacing the payment throughout the year. You have the option of making a once off or recurring (monthly) payment.

Please visit www.sfa.ie/directdebit where you can submit your details electronically.  Once we have received your completed mandate the direct debit request will be activated against your 2015 payment(s). 

Alternatively, you may choose to pay your membership fee in full by cheque, electronic transfer or online at www.sfa.ie/invoice

Please note that you can renew your subscription on-line by clicking here or by credit transfer, the SFA bank details are:


Bank:  Bank of Ireland

Bank Address:  2 College Green, Dublin 2

Account Name:  SFA / Ibec

Bank Account:  10025922

Sort Code:  90-00-17

BIC:  BOFIIE2D

IBAN:  IE97BOFI90001710025922

Vat Number:  IE 0051524W


As of Thursday, 5th of February 2015, all individual company passwords to
www.sfa.ie will no longer enable you to log on to the members only area of the website.  This will only be re-enabled on receipt of subscription.

 

SFA Annual Conference – Video Highlights
 
The SFA Annual Conference entitled “BOOST” - your confidence, your team, your business, your profits” took place on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 in the Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin 4.  The day was a great success and was attended by...

The SFA Annual Conference entitled “BOOST” - your confidence, your team, your business, your profits” took place on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 in the Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin 4.  The day was a great success and was attended by 300 delegates and guests.  The event was sponsored by RaboDirect.  The Chairman of the Small Firms Association, Mr AJ Noonan said that a return to ‘a business as usual attitude’ for Government is not an option. “Managing costs, supporting capital investment and engaging in real tax reform, is essential to maintaining Ireland’s competitiveness.” 

To see a short video of the overview of the conference please click here and to read the full press release on the day click here.

Workplace Relations Act 2015
 
The Workplace Relations Act 2015 has been signed by the President. It is set to radically overhaul the existing employment law bodies with the objective of streamlining the adjudication of employee rights and related matters and introduces new enforcement measures for NERA.  Although enacted, the Act is yet...

The Workplace Relations Act 2015 has been signed by the President. It is set to radically overhaul the existing employment law bodies with the objective of streamlining the adjudication of employee rights and related matters and introduces new enforcement measures for NERA. Although enacted, the Act is yet to be commenced and it is anticipated that it will come into operation within the next few months.

Once the relevant provision is commenced, the Act will amend the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 to allow the accrual of annual leave while on sick leave. The entitlement of employees on long term sick leave will be capped, as leave will be subject to a maximum carry over period of up to 15 months from the end of the year in which it accrued.  Further information will follow in due course.

SFA Members Connect Area on www.sfa.ie
 
The SFA site now includes a major feature - “SFA Connect”.  This section is designed to bring members to the fore of the site with a member spotlight section where you can create a profile page of your business; upload a...

The SFA site now includes a major feature - “SFA Connect”.  This section is designed to bring members to the fore of the site with a member spotlight section where you can create a profile page of your business; upload a photograph and company logo as well as submitting a company advert.  We urge members to make use of this facility to advertise and promote your business.  There is also a membership directory of all SFA members.  This directory can be categorised by either industry or region.  This is all free of charge to members.

If you have mislaid your username or password details or if you need assistance with creating your profile or submitting an advert, please contact Aisling Heaton at Tel: 01-6051668 or e-mail: aisling.heaton@sfa.ie.

Public Consultation on Tax and Entrepreneurship
 
The structure of a country’s tax system is a key factor in the ease of starting up and expanding a new business.  There are currently a number of tax expenditures in place to encourage entrepreneurial activity in the Irish economy in recognition of the role that entrepreneurs...

The structure of a country’s tax system is a key factor in the ease of starting up and expanding a new business.  There are currently a number of tax expenditures in place to encourage entrepreneurial activity in the Irish economy in recognition of the role that entrepreneurs can play in creating jobs, and the challenges that entrepreneurs can face when establishing new businesses.  The Minister for Finance, Mr Michael Noonan T.D., is considering how the tax system affects entrepreneurship generally as well as reviewing the tax expenditures currently available to entrepreneurs. The purpose of the review is to assess what is and is not working effectively as well as considering options for change to better incentivise entrepreneurship. 

The objective of the tax and entrepreneurship review is:

i) to assess the effectiveness of the tax system overall in terms of the ease of starting up and expanding a new business,

ii) to review the effectiveness of current tax expenditures aimed at entrepreneurs,

iii) to examine whether changes to existing tax expenditures and/or new measures could be introduced to incentivise entrepreneurial activity.

The SFA is making a submission on behalf of our members and I’d be grateful if you e-mail your comments to patricia.callan@sfa.ie or Tel: 01-6051602 by Friday, 10th July. 

To read a little bit more about this please click here.

National Rounding Scheme to reduce small coin costs
 
On the 17 June, the Government formally approved a national voluntary rounding scheme, with the total amount of all cash transactions being rounded up or down to the nearest 5c.  The Central Bank has confirmed that a voluntary scheme of this nature will require no...

On the 17 June, the Government formally approved a national voluntary rounding scheme, with the total amount of all cash transactions being rounded up or down to the nearest 5c.  The Central Bank has confirmed that a voluntary scheme of this nature will require no change in legislation and the legal tender status of both 1c and 2c coins will remain unchanged. Rounding will be conducted on a voluntary basis for both consumers and retailers alike. The Central Bank will ensure that an adequate supply of 1c and 2c coins remains available to facilitate demand, although the level of demand is expected to fall sharply, resulting in significant cost and efficiency savings for all stakeholders in the payments arena. It is important to note that rounding will only apply to cash transactions.  The initiative is not designed to have any impact on shelf prices or individual product prices and will not apply to electronic transactions, including payment cards.

A tentative introduction date has been set for late October.  For further information on this please click here.

Ibec Global Graduates
 

The objective of Ibec Global Graduates is to provide member companies with funding and access to a talent pool of highly skilled graduates for an 18 month placement. The  aim is...


The objective of Ibec Global Graduates is to provide member companies with funding and access to a talent pool of highly skilled graduates for an 18 month placement. The  aim is:

  • To provide members with financial support (small companies or start-ups with less than 50 employees will receive support of 70%);
  • To provide members with access to Ibec’s Talent Pool of high calibre, pre-screened, vetted graduates;
  • To source highly motivated work ready graduates, to increase member company presence in foreign markets, in addition to enhancing their domestic profile;
  • To customise Ibec Global Graduates programme to meet the needs and requirements of the member company;
  • To develop deeper engagement and partnerships between our member companies and higher education institutes;

For further information regarding Ibec Global Graduates please visit www.ibecglobalgraduates.ie to get an Expression of Interest form which will enable you to outline your ideal graduate(s) or alternatively we can schedule a call to discuss further.  Please email: stella.lacken@ibec.ie or Tel: 01  605 1646.

Grievance Procedures
 
There is no legislation directly governing grievance procedures, and most grievances can be handled by the immediate supervisor without recourse to a formal procedure.  However, there are legal implications around the...

There is no legislation directly governing grievance procedures, and most grievances can be handled by the immediate supervisor without recourse to a formal procedure.  However, there are legal implications around the grievance handling process and the absence of a grievance policy could result in the employer incurring a liability for constructive dismissal.  Having a grievance procedure also prevents an accumulation of minor issues within the workplace.

A copy of the SFA Guide on Grievance / Disputes Procedures can be downloaded by clicking here.

Members who have any queries in relation to resolving employee grievances or disputes please contact the SFA at Tel: 01-605 1668 or e-mail: aisling.heaton@sfa.ie.

Force Majeure Leave Refresher
 
Force majeure leave is an area of employment law that regularly throws up questions.  What is an urgent family reason?  Can force majeure leave be pre-scheduled?  What determines an...

Force majeure leave is an area of employment law that regularly throws up questions.  What is an urgent family reason?  Can force majeure leave be pre-scheduled?  What determines an employee’s presence being indispensable. 

The SFA has a force majeure leave guideline that members can download by clicking here

Any members with a query on this matter can email aisling.heaton@sfa.ie or Tel: 01-6051668.

New Customs Rules
 
The core piece of legislation underlying all customs procedures within the European Union and for trade from the EU to other countries has been completely revised and the new rules, detailed in the new Union Customs Code, will come into force on the 1 May 2016 so companies will have to start...

The core piece of legislation underlying all customs procedures within the European Union and for trade from the EU to other countries has been completely revised and the new rules, detailed in the new Union Customs Code, will come into force on the 1 May 2016 so companies will have to start preparing for the changes.  As this is a fairly substantive change-over with potentially an impact on anyone exporting goods out of Ireland the Revenue are preparing new procedures, and a new computer system to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. 

For more information, please have a look at the dedicated section on the Revenue's website by clicking here.

Dublin 2020 – European Capital of Culture Focus Group
 

Dublin is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture in 2020. Although this appears some time away, the first-round application deadline is set for October this year. The Bid Team, which is being facilitated by Dublin City Council, is currently conducting broad public engagement and would like to invite members of the business community to participate in a one-hour focus group.  This focus group is taking place on Thursday, 9 July in SFA Offices, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 from 15.30 – 16.30. 

For more information and to book your place, please click here or email linda.barry@sfa.ie or Tel: 01 6051626.

Building Your Brand – Driving Business Growth – FREE Workshop
 

The SFA is hosting a workshop on Wednesday, 15 June in SFA Offices, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.  The workshop is about building your brand for your business or for a product that you sell.  This FREE interactive workshop will be brought to you by two companies who have built up a strong reputation in commercial brand marketing and media buying. At this course you will have access to strategic advice and an introduction to best practice marketing.

Who Should Attend?

With economic improvement and businesses starting to consider investing in marketing, this course is ideal for business owners who want to get a really clear understanding as to how to invest their marketing budget effectively to grow their business

What Will You Learn?

  • How to understand who your target customer /consumer is
  • Positioning your brand
  • Setting clear marketing objectives
  • Understand what type of media to select and why
  • How to build a media plan
  • Measurement & evaluation

Registration: 09.30am - 10.00am
Starts: 10.00am
Finishes: 12.30pm

To book your place at this workshop, please click here or email ann.hare@ibec.ie or Tel: 01 6051581.

SFA Employment Law Conference 2015 – Your Essential Road Map
 

You need to protect your business interests while ensuring that you are acting in line with best practice and are in compliance with the law.  Irish employment law is in a state of flux, with fundamental reform of employment rights bodies through the Workplace Relations Act.  Small business owners and managers continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape. This year’s employment law conference tells you what you need to know about upcoming changes in the law, learning from lessons in case law while providing a useful reminder of the pitfalls to avoid.   

The SFA Employment Law Conference is taking place on the 24th September in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin 9.  It is a full day event including all refreshments and a sit down lunch.  The cost to attend is €190 + 23% = €233.70For further information on this and to book your place please email mairead.oleary@ibec.ie or Tel: 01 605 1675.

SFA Annual Lunch – Date for your Diary
 

The SFA Annual Lunch will take place on Friday, 6th November 2015 in the Convention Centre Dublin.  This is the biggest business lunch of the year with over 750 members and guests in attendance and represents a fantastic networking opportunity. 

Further details will follow in due course.   

SFA in the Media in June
 

During the month of June, the SFA featured in the media drawing attention to a number of topics that may directly impact on Small firms in Ireland.   The SFA welcomed the commencement of the Companies Act on the 1st June.  Patricia Callan, SFA Director, stated: “The new Companies Act represents a simplification and modernisation of company law in Ireland. It has the potential to reduce red tape and make it easier to operate a business in Ireland, with potential benefits for current and aspiring owner managers and for our economy and society as a whole.  To listen to an interview on Newstalk’s Lunchtime Show on 1st June, please click here or to read the full press release, please click here.

On the 3rd June, SFA Director, Patricia Callan, participated in a panel discussion on RTE Radio 1 “The Late Debate”, discussing the public sector pay deal.  Click here to listen.  She also wrote an Opinion Piece on this for the Sunday Business Post on 31st May.

The SFA Annual Conference entitled “BOOST” - your confidence, your team, your business, your profits” took place on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 in the Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin 4.  Speaking to over 300 delegates at the SFA Annual National Conference, sponsored by RaboDirect, the Chairman of the Small Firms Association, Mr AJ Noonan said that a return to ‘a business as usual attitude’ for Government is not an option. “Managing costs, supporting capital investment and engaging in real tax reform, is essential to maintaining Ireland’s competitiveness.”  He also gave an interview on Newstalk Business Breakfast Show and on RTE Radio 1 “Morning Ireland Business News” about the Conference and discussing the theme of it.  To read the full press release, please click here.  He also called for tax cuts.  Click here to read about this.  To see a short video of the overview of the conference please click here.

On 24th June, SFA Director, Patricia Callan, featured on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show opposing the potential introduction of 2 weeks mandatory paid paternity leave.  Click here to listen.

The SFA also called for a 1- year bankruptcy period as opposed to 3 years at present.  SFA Director, Patricia Callan, stated, “Creating a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking is essential to driving economic growth and job creation. Central to this is an acceptance of failure and the existence of an environment conducive to starting again. In Ireland, however, the social stigma of failure stifles second chance entrepreneurship and the bankruptcy regime remains overly-punitive. The SFA strongly believes that Government policies should encourage entrepreneurs back into business as
quickly as possible after bankruptcy.”  To read the full press release on this, please click here.