SFA E-Zine – The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member,   

In this week's e-zine, we bring you details of the WRC annual report which finds 1,981 employers held to be in breach of employment legislation and we present the SFA Brexit toolkit for small businesses.

Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different government support available to small businesses, in this edition we focus on the VAT Mini One Stop Shop, where you can file up to 28 EU VAT returns in a single transaction.

We share the SFA submission on the broad principles of the National Planning Framework and link to the BOI Economic Pulse from March.

Register to attend the upcoming Business Bytes taking place on 12 April focusing on the top 10 HR/employment law questions from small businesses and the next SFA webinar on 20 April on disciplinary and dismissal. Take advantage of the early bird 2 for 1 ticket offer for the SFA Annual Conference, Better than Best, on 24 May in the RDS. 

Find out more about the upcoming SFA training courses for small business on project management and employee appraisal skills. 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 directly at tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.


Kind Regards, 

Patricia Callan 

SFA Director


SFA IN THE MEDIA
Recent press coverage
  • Bus Eireann strike
  • Brexit
  • SFA Awards
  • SFA Pay & Conditions Survey
  • Internships 

Bus Eireann strike

The SFA issued a press statement on 24 March condemning the indefinite strike by Bus Eireann unions stating it will cause mass disruption for commuters and businesses. This was covered by:

  • Daily Mail - 29 Mar
  • Irish Examiner - 30 Mar
  • Midland Tribune - 30 Mar
  • Irish Independent - 1 Apr

SFA Director, Patricia Callan was interviewed on TV3's Vincent Browne Show on 30 March to debate the issue.

Brexit

Following the triggering of Article 50 by the British Government on 29 March, the Small Firms Association issued a press release with a toolkit for small businesses to help them to practically prepare for Brexit in their own business. This was covered by:

  • The Business Post - 29 Mar
  • Carlow Nationalist - 29 Mar
  • Irish Examiner - 29 Mar
  • The Times - 30 Mar
  • Belfast Telegraph - 30 Mar
  • The Daily Mail - 30 Mar
  • Irish Independent - 30 Mar
  • The Herald - 30 Mar
  • Clare Champion - 30 Mar
  • Irish Times - 1 Apr.

SFA Director, Patricia Callan was interviewed on RTE's Drive Time on 30 March on the topic.

SFA Awards

The SFA National Small Business Awards was covered in Business Plus on 1 April. 

SFA Pay & Conditions Survey Report

The SFA issued a press release on a SFA survey on Pay and Conditions of employment on 20 February, this was covered in Business Plus on 1 April. 

Internships

SFA Director, Patricia Callan was interviewed on Newstalk Drive on 30 March on the treatment of interns in the workplace.

NEWS
1,981 employers held to be in breach of employment legislation
 
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has issued its second annual report which outlines a number of interesting insights into their activities to date...

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has issued its second annual report which outlines a number of interesting insights into their activities to date.

The report includes a breakdown of the most common complaints referred to the adjudication service over the last year: 

  • 28% - Pay related issues (€1.5 million in unpaid wages have been recouped by the WRC)
  • 15% - Related to Unfair Dismissal
  • 12% - Working Time
  • 11% - Discrimination/Equality
  • 9% - Trade Disputes/IR
  • 9% - Terms and Conditions of Employment

On a positive note, the number of employers found to be in breach of employment legislation has reduced in the last year from 41% to 37% respectively. However, many of the cases which are successful are commonly as a result of the employer failing to have the correct HR policies and processes in place to deal with workplace issues as they arise. This can be easily avoided if employers implement and regularly review their policies and procedures.

The report also shows that employers need to be prepared for a more active inspection and enforcement service. The inspectorate (formerly NERA) monitors employment conditions to ensure compliance with and, where necessary, the enforcement of employment rights legislation. This includes redress for the employees concerned and payment of any unpaid wages arising from breaches of employment rights. Inspectors visit places of employment and carry out inspections of employment records. This involves, but is not confined to, examining books, records and documents relating to employment, and conducting interviews with employers and with current and former employees.

The Division have carried out a total of 4,830 inspections, of which 2,877 (60%) were unannounced. Of the 4,830 employers inspected, 1,981 (37% a reduction of 6% on the 2015 figure) were found to be in breach of employment legislation to some degree. The sectors showing a higher degree of non-compliance were electrical (60%), hair and beauty (53%), construction (49%), agriculture (47%) and wholesale and retail (45%). It is certainly of note that the WRC has stated in their report that they will be targeting those sectors with a higher risk of non-compliance. As such, employers in those sectors should ensure they are fully prepared for an inspection.

For more information on WRC inspections and record keeping you should consult the guidelines on our website. If you have any further questions on this area please contact Ciara McGuone on 016051668 or ciara.mcguone@sfa.ie

Brexit toolkit for small businesses
 

The SFA has prepared a Brexit guide for small business. It contains analysis of Ireland’s Brexit exposure and insights into the opportunities and risks for the main sectors of the economy. It also provides a Brexit toolkit for your business, outlining steps to take immediately and a checklist to ensure you are prepared for what comes next...


The UK has formally notified the EU of its intention to withdraw from membership. With the diplomatic wheels now very much in motion, it is time to ensure that you are making the necessary preparations in your business.

The SFA has prepared a Brexit guide for small business. It contains analysis of Ireland’s Brexit exposure and insights into the opportunities and risks for the main sectors of the economy. It provides details of the 10 main impact areas for Irish businesses: 

  • Currency
  • Supply chain
  • Contracts
  • Finance and funding
  • Workforce
  • Technology
  • Regulation
  • Tax
  • Market
  • Operating structures.

Crucially, the guide then provides a Brexit toolkit for your business, outlining “no regret” courses of action to manage Brexit as well as “do now” and “plan and be ready” steps under each of the 10 impact areas listed above.

View the toolkit and monitor the latest developments at SFA’s Brexit Hub: www.sfa.ie/Brexit.

The SFA is available to provide information and advice to member companies on any aspect of Brexit. The SFA team also meets with Government Ministers a number of times per month to discuss the impact of Brexit on small business. We would be happy to pursue any policy response that you feel would assist your business – please share your ideas with Patricia Callan, SFA Director, on 01 6051602 or patricia.callan@sfa.ie

File up to 28 EU VAT returns in a single transaction via MOSS
 

Spotlight on the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS), a single web-portal for filing and paying VAT in EU Member States in which your business does not have a fixed establishment. This article provides information on the scheme and advice on how to avail of it... 


There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.

VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS)

What?

A simplified online method of calculating and making a single payment for VAT owed on telecoms, broadband or e-services supplied to consumers in EU countries in which you do not have a fixed establishment.

From 1 January 2015, the place of supply of these services to consumers became the place where the consumer is established. Businesses that supply these services are therefore obliged to register, charge and account for VAT in the Member State of the consumer. VAT MOSS offers a simplified way of doing so.

Why?

The aim of VAT MOSS is to reduce the administrative cost and burden on businesses. Use of MOSS is optional – alternatively businesses can register for VAT in each Member State that it supplies to. However, if you do choose to use MOSS, you must use it for all of your B2C supplies of telecommunications, broadband and electronically supplied services in EU countries where you do not have an establishment.

How?

Businesses make a single registration for MOSS, in the EU Member State in which you are established (known as the Member State of identification).

To register in Ireland, log on to the Revenue On-Line Service (ROS). Revenue will pre-populate the application form with the details it already holds. You can edit certain fields and you must provide details of any fixed establishments you have in other Member States.

MOSS returns should be made via ROS within 20 days of the end of each calendar quarter. In relation to each Member State in which you have made supplies (except Ireland and other places where you have a fixed establishment), you will enter:

  • The taxable amount of supplies made from your establishment in Ireland to customers in other Member States
  • The taxable amount of supplies made from your fixed establishments in other Member States

MOSS will calculate the total amount due in relation to all Member States. Payment can be made by single debit instruction or by card and Revenue will distribute the payment to the relevant Member States.

For more information, check the VAT MOSS leaflet on the Revenue website. Revenue also runs a MOSS helpdesk, which can be contacted by email (mossnsd@revenue.ie) or Lo-Call 1890 226464. Details of regional contact points can also be found on the Revenue website.

Tips               

If you are interested in applying, don’t forget:

  • If you are established and registered for MOSS in Ireland, you cannot include your supplies to customers in Ireland in your MOSS return. These should be processed via your normal domestic VAT return. Similarly, if you make supplies to customers in another Member State in which you have a fixed establishment, these should be filed in the domestic VAT return in that Member State.
  • MOSS cannot be used for B2B supplies or for B2C supplies of goods or any services other than telecommunications, broadband or e-services.
  • Businesses which fall below the VAT threshold in Ireland will still be required to pay VAT in Member States where they are not established. They can register for MOSS in Ireland without any implications for their domestic VAT status.
  • Where there are multiple VAT rates in a certain Member State, the onus is on you to select the correct rate for your services.
  • If you are registered for MOSS in Ireland, returns must be made in Euro, irrespective of what currency is used in the country of consumption. 
National Planning Framework submission
 

On 31 March 2017, the SFA made a submission on the broad principles of the National Planning Framework. It stated that the overarching priority for the small business community is that development will take place in a planned way, focused on the factors that can boost Ireland’s competitiveness and backed up with the necessary capital investment...


The Government is currently developing a successor to the National Spatial Strategy, which will be known as the National Planning Framework and will cover the period to 2040. It is intended that the Ireland 2040 Plan will be a high-level document that will provide the framework for future development and investment in Ireland. It will be the overall plan from which other, more detailed plans will take their lead. This will allow shared national development goals, including improved living standards, quality of life, prosperity, competitiveness and environmental sustainability, to be more broadly considered. This will also provide greater clarity for private sector investment.

On 31 March 2017, the SFA made a submission on the broad principles of the National Planning Framework. It stated that the overarching priority for the small business community is that development will take place in a planned way, focused on the factors that can boost Ireland’s competitiveness and backed up with the necessary capital investment.

The SFA provided input from member companies under a number of headings:

  • Industry and jobs
  • Dublin and the Greater Dublin Area
  • Transport
  • Communications
  • Housing

The SFA submission also included feedback on the implementation of the Framework, highlighting that strategic decision making, consistent application and adequate investment are essential to successful implementation.

The full submission is available here.

Thank you to those members who provided input to the submission. There will be another public consultation once the draft Framework has been published. Members are invited to share their views with Linda Barry, SFA Assistant Director, at linda.barry@sfa.ie or on 01 605 1626.

BOI Economic Pulse March 2017
 
The Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse was at 91.1 in March 2017. The index, which combines the results of the Consumer and Business Pulses, was down 1.4 on February and 5 below last March’s reading...

The Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse was at 91.1 in March 2017. The index, which combines the results of the Consumer and Business Pulses, was down 1.4 on February and 5 below last March’s reading.

The consumer picture brightened this month as households upgraded their assessment of the economy and also took a more upbeat view of their personal finances.

In contrast, the unsettled external environment remained a source of concern for many firms and contributed to a fall in the Business Pulse, though sentiment at the sectoral level was somewhat mixed.

“The business mood was more muted this month, which weighed on the headline Economic Pulse reading,” Dr. Loretta O'Sullivan, Group Chief Economist, Bank of Ireland.

View the March 2017 Economic Pulse.

EVENTS
The top 10 HR/Employment Law questions from small businesses
 
  • 12 April
  • SFA Offices, Baggot St Dublin

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.

  • Date: Wednesday, 12 April
  • Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
  • Venue: Ibec, 84-86 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2

Employment Law is an area that is becoming increasingly complex and is governed by over 30 pieces of major legislation. With this in mind, it is now more important than ever that employers have a clear understanding of employment law to ensure that they are protecting their business and complying with their legal obligations. This seminar will focus on the top ten most common HR/Employment law questions received from members of the Small Firms Association.

The session will aim to give attendees key information and practical tips and will cover a broad range of topics including:

  • contracts of employment
  • recruitment and selection
  • performance management
  • disciplinary issues
  • handling grievances

The session will be delivered by Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive. Ciara is the SFA’s resident HR and Employment Law expert. She is responsible for providing advice to members on various aspects of HR and employment law. In previous roles, Ciara has represented clients in the employment law tribunals, conducted disciplinary, grievance and appeal hearings, and also been involved in the recruitment and selection process up to CEO level. She is also a certified mediator.

The event will last for approximately one hour with an opportunity to network before and after. Refreshments will be provided.

Register to attend now.

SFA Webinar - Disciplinary and Dismissal
 
  • 20 April

Managing misconduct issues in the workplace is often viewed as one of the most complex issues for employers. This is due to the increasing number of cases that are being successfully taken by employees due to flawed procedures during the disciplinary process. With this in mind, it is now more important than ever that employers are in a position to effectively manage disciplinary issues that may arise up to and including dismissal.

Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive will deliver a webinar on 20 April from 2:15pm - 2:45pm on the best practice approach to discipline and dismissal, as well as exploring the most common pitfalls to ensure that your business does not fall foul of the unfair Dismissals Act 1997-2015.

Register online now for the webinar.


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

SFA Annual Conference 2017 - early bird offer 2 for 1
 
  • 24 May 2017
  • RDS

The SFA Annual Conference is a not-to-be missed date in the small business calendar. On 24 May, 300 entrepreneurs, owner-managers, policy makers and media will gather together in the RDS Dublin to explore how to create competitive advantage in the current economic and business environment.

The most productive people, companies and organisations view the world, and their choices, in very different ways. A mix of keynote addresses and panel discussions will focus on how small businesses can stay hungry year after year and strive for continuous improvement. The conference will provide advice for owner-managers to ensure you do not become a victim of complacency and help you to identify opportunities to move your business forward, focusing on people, policy, innovation and inspiration.

Throughout this half-day conference, there will be tips for owner-managers, sharing of lessons learnt and networking opportunities that will help your business become BETTER THAN BEST. Stay tuned for details of the expert speakers. 

  • Date: 24 May
  • Time: 8:30am - 2:00pm
  • Venue: RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Early bird offer 2 for 1 available now, tickets for members are €95 plus VAT, book online now

Planning on travelling to Dublin for the SFA Annual Conference? Conference delegates can avail of a discounted rate at the Sandymount Hotel, an independent family-run hotel within walking distance of the conference venue. To book your room for just €119 per night, including breakfast and parking, email info@sandymounthotel.ie or call 01 6142000, and quote 'SFA' when booking. This offer is subject to availability so book now to avoid missing out.

TRAINING PROGRAMMES
Train the key people in your business: project management and employee appraisal skills
 

Two of the SFA’s most popular training courses are back: Project Management for Small Firms and Performance Management and Appraisal Skills. Don’t miss your chance to ensure that the key people in your business develop these vital skills. These courses are part of ‘Unlock your potential’, the SFA’s 2017 training offering, and the full 2017 schedule is now available...    


The SFA provides access to training that is tailored to small businesses. Courses are short (1-2 days), provided by expert trainers and offered at affordable rates. The next two courses are outlined below.

‘Unlock your potential’ is the SFA’s 2017 training offering and the full brochure is available here.

Project Management for Small Firms – Dublin  

Project management is essential to the smooth running of your business, no matter what sector you are in. This course will help you to complete projects on time and within budget. It is based on real life scenarios that will improve the skills of anyone in your business that is involved in project work.

Topics covered include:

  1. Assertiveness and interpersonal effectiveness
  2. Ensuring deadlines are agreed and met
  3. Delivering results every time
  • When: 14 April (1-day programme)
  • Venue: Ibec, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
  • Cost: €190 for SFA member companies, €240 for non-members
  • How to register: Register online here or contact Alexandra Racheru on 01-6051675

Please note this programme will be repeated in Dublin 15 September and 7 December. Register now at www.sfa.ie/events 

Performance Management and Appraisal Skills – Dublin

Managing employee performance is critical for a successful business, but it can be tricky in practice. Would your business benefit from improved goal setting, more effective appraisals and employee feedback? Do you or the other people managers in your business need to develop your confidence in dealing with performance issues?

If you answered YES to these questions, then this is the course for you!

Topics covered include:

  1. Managing poor and high performers
  2. Delivering feedback to others and dealing with challenging people
  3. The role of managers in performance management
  4. Managing the appraisal interview: preparation, structure, style
  • When: 19 May (1-day programme)
  • Venue: Ibec, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
  • Cost: €190 for SFA member companies, €240 for non-members
  • How to register: Register online here or contact Alexandra Racheru on 01-6051675

Please note this programme will be repeated in Dublin on 14 December. Register now at www.sfa.ie/events