SFA E-zine – The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this week's edition of our SFA e-zine.  


This week we have even more speakers to announce for our Annual Conference, Time to transform, read on to find out more information about the speakers we have addressing the delegates on the topic of Digital Transformation.  The SFA are delighted to be able to offer this event to our members FREE of charge.  I want to encourage you to book your place as soon as possible, seats are limited and filling up quickly.  We look forward to seeing you on the 24 May. 


In case you missed our webinar last Wednesday, on GDPR and record keeping, we have uploaded the presentation to our website. 


Restructuring your business and the possibility of redundancy can be daunting and a difficult area for businesses.  Make sure to read our helpful article on restructuring roles


We have an update on the latest Brexit impact survey from Ibec as well as an important update from Revenue on PAYE modernisation, please make sure to give this article your full attention.  If you require more information on PAYE modernisation then make sure to register for our Business Bytes event taking place next Wednesday, another great FREE event.


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
  • Business Connect report 2018
  • GDPR
  • SFA National Small Business Awards
  • County Wexford Business Awards 2018

Last week the SFA published its report from the Business Connect event that took place in the Aviva earlier this year. In our press release, SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens stated that ‘Integrating indigenous businesses into the supply chains of the FDI sector is win-win. Securing a large B2B customer has the potential to transform a small business, allowing them to scale and increase productivity. For larger organisations, working with small firms provides access to a pool of local suppliers, the flexibility to innovate rapidly and an opportunity to demonstrate their positive impact on the communities in which they are based.’


There was also coverage of the SFA in the Irish Times this week in an article about GDPR: countdown to stringency


Our SFA National Small Business Award winner, Briody Bedding were featured in last weeks episode of Nationwide on RTE, looking at the importance of local business in rural communities.  The episode can be viewed here.


SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens is a judge for the upcoming County Wexford Business Awards 2018.  This event was covered in the New Ross Standard, Gorey Guardian, Enniscorthy Guardian and the Wexford People as the 70 shortlisted businesses were announced.  The shortlist can be viewed here.

The four pillars of digital transformation for you and your business

For our digital transformation session, we are delighted to announce two of our speakers for the day, Colin Chapman, Digital Transformation Consultant and Adian Healy from Unplug


This year the SFA Annual Conference theme is ‘Time to transform’, exposing delegates to the challenges and opportunities coming down the line for their businesses.


For more information on this event and to book you FREE place, please view our new conference website here.


We are delighted to add to the list of speakers already attending the event on the 24 May in the O’Brien Centre for Science, UCD.  In our digital transformation session, we are delighted to announce two of our speakers for the day, Colin Chapman, Digital Transformation Consultant and Adian Healy from Unplug


Colin Chapman, Digital Transformation Consultant will address the four pillars of digital transformation:

1. Engage customers

2. Empower employees

3. Optimising operations – focus on using data and insights and how to make operations more insight-led

4. Transform products and services – how products and services are changing to meet customer needs in this digital age


Aidan Healy is co-founder of Unplug and he designs and develops their client programmes. He will show that digital transformation is not just an IT exercise, it is also a people journey. By empowering individuals and developing a positive digital culture, organisations can gain a competitive advantage.


Places are booking up fast for this must attend event.  Please make sure to book your place now

*The cost of your ticket is redeemable off SFA membership for 2018

GDPR and record keeping

This week we share a video recording of our webinar on GDPR and record keeping which is one of the top GDPR queries that we receive on a daily basis. Read on to get access to this webinar and our record keeping checklist for employee records ….

Last week we hosted a webinar on GDPR and record keeping as this is one of the top GDPR queries that we receive on a daily basis from SFA members.


In relation to GDPR and record keeping, the webinar considered the following:

  • Legal retention periods for HR records
  • Limitation periods, what this means and the more common types of claims a person might make
  • Health and safety considerations
  • Regulatory considerations
  • Individual business needs which also briefly discussed retention periods for CCTV footage

You can access the webinar here and we have a full record keeping checklist for the legal retention periods for HR record keeping which you will also find on that page.


At this year’s SFA annual conference on 24 May we have a specific session on GDPR where we look ahead at the pitfalls and possibilities for GDPR as it comes in to force on 25 May so do join us. If you are a member of SFA, places are free for up to two people per member company.


If you have responsibility for GDPR implementation in your business, then avail of our in-depth GDPR workshop which is aimed specifically at small businesses. The one-day workshop will explore the following:


  • GDPR and employee data
  • GDPR and customer data
  • Data Protection Officers and whether you need a DPO
  • When you need to implement a Data Protection Impact Assessment
  • Security of data
  • Preparing for GDPR once it comes in to force


To find out more and to book your place now please click here.


If you would like more information on GDPR or to discuss your requirements further, please contact Helen at SFA on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit the GDPR section on www.sfa.ie/advice


A cautionary case on restructuring roles

This week we share a cautionary case that employers should consider when restructuring roles within their business. This case is a timely reminder that part time workers should not be treated less favourably than their full-time colleagues when it comes to redundancy selection…

The case of Barna Recycling v Carmel Leydon serves as a cautionary reminder to businesses to be careful when restructuring roles within their company to avoid falling foul of the Protection of Employees (Part Time Work) Act 2001. Under the legislation, part time workers must not be treated less favourably than their full-time colleagues.


In this case, the company sought to replace four part-time credit controllers with two full-time credit controllers based on customer and staff feedback. The part-time employees refused to move to the full-time roles and they were subsequently made redundant by the company.


Section 15 of the Protection of Employees (Part Time Work) Act 2001 states that an employer shall not penalise an employee if they refuse a request from the business to either move from full time to part time hours or part time hours to full time hours.  


In awarding €26,000 to the claimant, the Court held “…there was no objective justification for [the] decision and indeed no real thought went into it until the objections were raised.”


From the above, it is clear that an employer who wishes to change a current role within the business from part time to full time should have a clear, objective rationale as to why this is required. The reason for the change should be backed up by written evidence so that the employer can support and defend their decision.


In this case, the Labour Court rejected “customer and staff feedback” as being a legitimate reason for the restructure of the roles. As with any potential redundancy situation, it is vital that a company can show that they considered all reasonable alternatives and consulted with the employee(s) before proceeding with any organisational restructuring.


The SFA have a guideline on part time working which sets out the requirements for employers under the above legislation and you can avail of our resources on redundancy here.


For further information restructuring and redundancy or if you have any other HR issues, please contact Helen Quinn on helen.quinn@sfa.ie or 01 605 1668.

Ibec releases latest Brexit impact survey

Earlier this week, Ibec launched the results of a major new Brexit survey with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney. The issues of most acute concern to companies are customs and certification barriers, future regulatory divergence and exchange rate volatility.

Earlier this week, Ibec launched the results of a major new Brexit survey with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney at the All-island Civic Dialogue in Dundalk. The survey shows that a large majority of companies are now actively engaged in Brexit planning, despite the massive uncertainties that remain.


Over one in five companies (21%) already have contingency plans in place, while over half (53%) will have plans in place over the coming months. Contingency planning has accelerated, despite the recent political agreement on a transition period to the end of 2020.


Businesses remain deeply concerned about the Brexit talks and are planning for all eventualities. The issues of most acute concern to companies are customs and certification barriers (identified as top concern for 20% of companies), future regulatory divergence (13%), and exchange rate volatility (13%).


Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: “Business is actively working to support an outcome that delivers close EU-UK alignment into the future, but major obstacles exist. The type of EU-UK free trade agreement that currently seems likely would amount to a significant deterioration of the current economic relationship and would come with a heavy economic cost.”


Key additional survey findings (see full report here):


Impact on business: Brexit was expected to impact negatively on exchange rate movements for 47% of companies, the cost of custom compliance procedures with NI/GB (45%), pricing (32%), level of imports from the UK (31%) and on the value (29%) and volume of exports (27%). A more positive than negative outcome for businesses due to Brexit was expected on the ability of respondents to win new inbound investment projects (20% positive impact, 7% negative impact), on investment plans in Ireland (19% positive impact, 14% negative impact) and on the sourcing of staff from the UK (16% positive impact, 10% negative impact).


Contingency planning: Over one in five companies (21%) already had a contingency plan in place, while over half of companies (53%) are either currently working on plans or aim to work on a plan in the coming months. Companies have focused contingency plans around new geographical markets outside of the UK (32%), diversification into new business products (25%), alternatives to transit of goods through the UK (25%) and sourcing strategies for materials (21%). Those with a contingency plan in place had a greater focus on both increased investment into the UK (18%) and relocation of activity into the UK (15%) when compared to the overall response group, at 9% and 8% respectively.


Brexit and the island of Ireland: When asked about the affect of Brexit on trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland, three out of five (60%) respondents highlighted concern at the potential impact of increased custom and certification procedures on their business. Other issues of importance included the possible risk to stability through undermining of the Good Friday Agreement (44%), the possible risk to all-island supply chain (43%), and increased competition from companies based in Great Britain (40%).

Have you received a letter from Revenue about PAYE modernisation?

All employers should take note that last week Revenue began issuing PAYE Modernisation Employer Informational letters. Please keep an eye out for this letter and read its contents carefully. 


All employers should take note that last week Revenue began issuing PAYE Modernisation Employer Informational letters. These letters contain details of the changes taking place under the PAYE modernisation project and contact information for an employer helpline where you can access further support.


To read more about PAYE modernisation and how employers should prepare, take a look back at our previous e-zine article or visit the Revenue website.


In addition, save the date of 9 May for a free SFA Business Bytes seminar on PAYE modernisation. SFA staff and Revenue experts will be on hand to give you more information and answer your questions.


More information will be provided to SFA members throughout the year as the implementation date for PAYE modernisation approaches.

PAYE modernisation – what every employer needs to know
  • 09 May, Bord Gais Offices

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.

Revenue is currently implementing the most significant reform of the PAYE system since its introduction in 1960. All employers will have to update their business processes to allow real time reporting to Revenue.

There are a number of actions that employers need to take now and throughout 2018, whether you use payroll software or not.

Date:             9th May 2018

Time:             17:30 - 19:30

Duration:        2 hours

Venue:           Bord Gáis Energy

Address:        1 Warrington Place

                      Dublin 2

Sinead Sweeney, Change Manager for PAYE Modernisation in Revenue, will deliver this session. She will help you to understand the changes that are being made and outline the steps you should take to prepare your business for a smooth transition on 1 January 2019. She will also be available to answer any questions you have about PAYE modernisation.

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

This event is entirely free of charge but you must pre-register.

For all queries on the event, please call the event organiser:
Briana McTiernan, Tel: +353 1 605 1622

SFA Annual Conference - Time to transform
  • 24 May, O'Brien Science Centre, UCD

The SFA Annual conference is our flagship event and helps small business owners and managers to keep up to date with the latest trends in HR, management and innovation provides an opportunity to come together to make connections and learn from each other’s experiences.

It is a half-day event on 24 May in the O'Brien Science Centre, UCD and will be moderated by TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick. It will bring together 300 entrepreneurs, owner-managers, policy makers and media gather together to explore how to create competitive advantage in the current economic and business environment. A mix of keynote addresses and panel discussions will focus on how small businesses can stay competitive, gain access to and retain talent and deal with new regulatory challenges such as GDPR.

To book your place please click here.

GDPR for small firms training course

If your business processes personal data on behalf of employees, customers, suppliers or stakeholders, then GDPR applies to you.

It is a feature of modern life that society is forced to debate matters such as the placement of surveillance cameras in public places, the extent to which security services may be allowed access to our private correspondence and the extent to which we share information about ourselves online. GDPR impacts every part of the business from managing employee records, to customer data lists right through to financial records that contact personal data.


The SFA is delighted to invite you to attend a specific training session on GDPR.  Our experts will provide you with detailed insight into the implications of GDPR, advising particularly on the considerations which are most relevant to small businesses.  They will offer a comprehensive overview of employers’ increased obligations under GDPR, enhanced rights for employees and individuals and cover consent and direct marketing. You will be advised on the possible need for a Data Protection Officer and the considerations for carrying out Data Protection Impact Assessments. The course will provide guidance on ensuring the security of data held by small businesses and will set out a step by step guide on preparing for the GDPR’s arrival on 25 May 2018.


This event is important for anyone who processes personal data on behalf of employees, customers, suppliers or stakeholders.  Make sure to book your place now.  Spaces are limited and filling up fast.