Could your business be held liable for the conduct of your employees online?
Social media has a key role in many businesses and now more than ever employees are regularly engaging with customers and stakeholders online. Employers should be aware that under Section 15 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 , they can be held vicariously liable for prohibited discriminatory conduct carried out by an employee...
Social media has a key role in many businesses and now more than ever employees are regularly engaging with customers and stakeholders online. Employers should be aware that under Section 15 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 , they can be held vicariously liable for prohibited discriminatory conduct carried out by an employee. With this in mind, it is important that employers put in place measures to reduce the risk of being held liable for an employees conduct online such as defamatory comments about colleagues and clients or online bullying and harassment.
In a recent Irish Labour Court decision, William McCamley v Dublin Bus, an employee made a number of defamatory and abusive comments about the claimant on Facebook. The Court ruled that as there was a direct link between the actions of the employee and the workplace, the employer could be held vicariously liable. However, in successfully defending the claim the employer relied on s.14 (2) of the Equality Acts and was in a position to show that they took “reasonably practicable” steps to prevent such conduct through the existence of a social media policy which prohibited such behaviour.
This ruling highlights the importance of having adequate policies in place as it can prevent an employer being held liable for the inappropriate conduct of their employees. The SFA have an updated sample social media policy available on our website which you can tailor to your own business. If you have any questions on this area, please contact Ciara McGuone on email@example.com or 01 605 1668.
Free advice portal for new food businesses
Spotlight on the ‘Starting a Food Business’ advice portal, managed by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The portal contains guidance on registering your business and complying with food safety and traceability rules. This article provides information on the portal and how to access it...
Free advice portal for new food businesses
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.
Food business start-up advice
An online portal containing all of the key information for food business start-ups.
The portal contains essential information for anyone setting up a food business, including considerations if operating from home or at a market. Specific advice for microbreweries and catering businesses is also included.
The agri-food and fisheries sector in Ireland contributes around €24 billion to the national economy and employs more than 150,000 people. Many business in the sector are small and micro firms, including artisan food producers. Part of the remit of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is to reduce the regulator burden on food businesses, while ensuring the safety of consumers.
There are a number of important steps that new food businesses must take to ensure they comply with legislation in the areas of health and safety, traceability and labelling. Food legislation can be complex and the mosaic of rules can be confusing for start-ups.
For this reason, the FSAI has created an area of its website dedicated to food business start-ups. It provides guidance documents on compliance, workbooks to develop risk-based food safety management systems and food safety training for the small business sector.
Aspiring food business start-ups should familiarise themselves with the ‘Starting a Food Business’ portal on the FSAI website.
The portal contains:
- Instructions on registering your business and assessing whether you need to apply for approval before beginning to trade
- Information on food hygiene legislation
- Guidelines on developing a food safety management system and a traceability system
- Advice when operating from home or selling at a market
- Access to training (including e-learning), events and publications
If you are interested in availing of this service, don’t forget:
- The four-page Business Start-up Information fact sheet is a useful starting point if you are planning to establish a food business.
- The portal contains contact details for all of the competent authorities, such as the HSE, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Local Authority Veterinary Inspector and the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority.
- Caterers, retailers and wholesalers should also obtain a copy of the relevant standard from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) website, www.standards.ie
- FSAI also has an advice phone line, which you can call on 1890 33 66 77.
An alarming amount of small firms unaware of obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes effective from 25 May 2018. The GDPR will replace the existing Data Protection Acts (1988 and 2003) placing substantial new responsibilities on businesses that process personal data as well as introducing tougher penalties for non compliance...
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes effective from 25 May 2018. The GDPR will replace the existing Data Protection Acts (1988 and 2003) placing substantial new responsibilities on businesses that process personal data as well as introducing tougher penalties for non compliance.
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner recently published the results of a survey which found low levels of awareness and preparedness for compliance with the new GDPR regulation among small and medium enterprises. The survey found that a staggering 70% of businesses are unaware of what date the GDPR become effective. In addition, over one quarter of businesses do now know when they will begin preparations for the introduction of the new regulation.
Bearing this in mind, we would urge our members to commence preparations as soon as possible for the new regulation as there are significant changes being introduced. The Data Protection Commission have launched GDPRandyou.ie which contains useful guidance materials and resources which will assist your business. In addition, the SFA have been involved, through the GDPR Taskforce, in delivering a series of short guides to help raise awareness and understanding of the GDPR. These guides can be accessed here.
If you have queries on this area you can contact Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive, on 01 605 1668 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rising cost of doing business threaten sustainable and prolonged growth
The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) launched its Costs of Doing Business in Ireland 2017 report on 1 June. This report benchmarks the main business costs across over 70 indicators and focuses on areas where Irish enterprise costs are out of line in those in key competitor countries...
The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) launched its Costs of Doing Business in Ireland 2017 report on 1 June.
This report benchmarks the main business costs across over 70 indicators and focuses on areas where Irish enterprise costs are out of line in those in key competitor countries. The report concentrates on costs that are largely domestically determined such as labour, property, energy, water, waste, communications and business services, and considers both price levels, and changes in those levels (i.e. price inflation).
In terms of business costs, as a small open economy, dependent on exports and foreign investment as major drivers of growth, our relative cost competitiveness is a significant determinant of our overall competitiveness, and ultimately of our economic prosperity, employment and our standard of living.
The improved competitiveness of Ireland’s exporting sector has been one of Ireland’s greatest strengths in recent years and has been key to economic growth and job creation. It has been critical to the success of Irish based exporters, allowing them to maximise the opportunities arising from increases in global demand. Despite improvements in Irish cost competitiveness since the global economic and financial crisis, threats to continued economic success abound. While the Irish economy is experiencing rapid growth, the global economy is not proving as robust, with growth prospects curtailed by lower consumption, investment, trade and productivity levels. To protect the gains achieved to date, to further embed and sustain the recovery, and to ultimately spread the benefits of economic growth to all, we must continue to enhance all aspects of our competitiveness.
The full report is available here.
Companies Registration Office updates
A series of updates from the Companies Registration Office...
A series of updates from the Companies Registration Office (CRO)
- Companies Accounting Act 2017
The Companies (Accounting) Act 2017 has been passed by the Oireachtas and is due to commence shortly.
Section 15 amends Part 6 of the Companies Act 2014. It inserts a new Chapter 1A (sections 280A to 280H) which provides for the criteria or companies to qualify as "small", "medium" or "large", and introduces the new "micro" category of company.
- Unlimited companies – no exemption available
The Companies (Accounting) Act 2017 removes the option for an unlimited company to apply for a suffix exemption. This Act does not affect any exemption already granted by the Minister. Only DACs/CLGs can apply for further exemptions.
- Public Office – Gloucester Place Lower
The CRO Public Office and the Registry of Friendly Societies have completed their change of address. The CRO/RFS have both moved to Bloom House, Gloucester Place Lower, Dublin 1. The Public Office entrance is on the corner of Sean McDermott Street Lower and Gloucester Place Lower.
It is not possible to deliver documents outside office hours at the Bloom House address. Hand delivered documents (including deliveries by couriers) must be delivered between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday only.
- Digital Certificates change of name/re-registration
Certificates of Change of a Company Name and Re-Registration of a Company Type will be issued as "digitally certified" documents commencing Thursday 8 June 2017. These Digital Certificates will replace the paper Certificates currently in use which are posted out to presenters. They will be emailed as a pdf document to the email address entered in the "Company email address" section of the G1Q form and D20 form following registration. Presenters can provide these digital certificates directly to third parties such as banks and other financial institutions by email as required.
- Fast track requirements – June 2017
As the CRO will introduce mandatory electronic filing for the submission of the following documents from 1 June 2017 in accordance with S.I. No. 458 of 2016 and Section 897, Companies Act 2014.: B1 - Annual Return (including financial statements and electronic payment), B2 - Change of registered office, B10 - Change of director and/or secretary, or a change in their particulars, B73 - Nomination of a new annual return date, presenters should note that it is up to the company officers to ensure that all documents are completed correctly to ensure that the restoration can be completed on the day.
From 1 June 2017, mandatory efiling of B1's, B10's and B2's will mean that if information is incorrect, or further information is required, it will have to be completed online.
- Mandatory efiling of certain forms from 1 June 2017
The CRO has introduced mandatory electronic filing for the forms B1,B2, B10 and B73 as of June 1st 2017.
From 1 June 2017, the sole means of filing a B1 and financial statements and paying for an annual return is in electronic form. The return may be digitally signed using Revenue Online Service (ROS), otherwise, the signature page must still be printed off, signed and delivered to the CRO. Please see website pages on Mandatory E-filing.
View more updates in the CRO newsletter here.
What the Data Society Means for You
The Data Summit 2017 is taking place on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 June 2017 in the Convention Centre, Dublin.
The Data Summit Dublin provides a unique opportunity to hear leading international, European and Irish speakers debate the social, technical, ethical and cultural issues that arise in the context of our world of total connectivity, from discussions on the future of privacy and trust in the digital age to how you can manage your own privacy in an online world. The event will consider:
- What is the Data Society?
- What does it mean for citizens, for you, for your business?
- What is the potential for positive innovation and societal benefits that arise from the good use of data?
- How do you protect your personal data?
- Is your business ready for the new EU law on Data Protection?
Find out more and register to attend here.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs can internationalise more easily now than at any time in history. Yet, many small to mid-sized businesses do not explore new markets. Complexity and lack of credible contacts are among the principal reasons for the reluctance to expand globally. Regulations are especially burdensome for smaller firms.
The Entrepreneurship Export Exchange (E3) conference is enabling entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses to connect with international markets. E3 events are expressly designed to provide businesses with an intimate, in-depth opportunity to engage with US and foreign trade officials. Unlike large trade expos, E3 will offer smaller firms the chance to spend more time, get specific answers to their questions, and personally meet the right contacts to pave the way.
The Dublin event is taking place on 29 June in Enterprise Ireland, East Point Business Park, Dublin 3.
Access. Seldom is access to so many high-level officials from countries around the world available in such an intimate setting. E3 is designed for depth. This isn’t your standard international expo where you might hope to collect a couple cards or get a few minutes to pitch your business interests. Small companies will gain a deeper understanding of the issues, opportunities, and key actors they need to know to grow their companies in new markets overseas.
- 9:00 AM: Registration, Coffee and Networking
- 9:30 AM: Opening Sessions and Welcome - Brett Bruen, President, Global Situation Room, Inc.
- 9:45 AM: Niamh Bushnell, Founder and CEO of TechIreland, Dublin’s first Commissioner for Startups, and Founder of the Dublin Globe
- 10:00 AM: Laying the Landscape of Business in the United States - Dr Frank Levene, Avitus Group
- 10:30 AM: Panel Discussion: Strategies for Small Firms, from Entrepreneurs Who Have Succeeded on Both Sides of the Atlantic
- Moderator: Evan Rudowski, Atlantic Leap
- Philip Noone, Managing Director, Aalto Bio Reagents
- 11:15 AM: Presentations on U.S Markets
- 1:00 PM: SelectUSA Outcomes
- 1:15 PM: Does Your Company Have What it Takes to Go Global? - Thunderbird School of Global Management
- 2:00 PM: Presentations on U.S Markets
- 2:45 PM: Afternoon Coffee and Networking Break
- 3:15 PM: Panel: Policy Shifts, and what Irish Businesses Need to Know
- Moderator: Patrick Jephson
- Simon McKeever, Irish Exporters Association
- 4:00 PM: Closing Remarks and Keynote
- 4:30 PM: Conference Close
Find out more and register to attend here.
SFA Webinar playback - managing retirement
- Playback last week's webinar
There have been recent changes in the area of retirement as a result of the introduction of the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 on 1 January 2016 which aligned Irish legislation with European law regarding retirement ages. This amends the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015 and requires employers to objectively justify their mandatory retirement age going forward.
Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive, delivered an SFA webinar on managing retirement on Wednesday, 7 June.
The webinar focused on some of the most commonly asked questions in this area:
- How can I manage the retirement process correctly to avoid an age discrimination claim?
- What do the changes to the legislation mean for employers in this area?
- What is considered an “objective justification” for a retirement age?
- How do changes in the state pension age impact on retirement?
Playback the webinar and access a copy of the presentation here.
Book now to develop new skills for your business
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. The challenges currently facing small businesses should not delay your investment in training for you and your staff. In fact, they make it all the more urgent to boost your firm’s competitiveness. Check out the courses being offered by the SFA from September to December 2017 in the ‘Unlock your potential 2017’ brochure...
Small businesses face many challenges and uncertainties in the current business environment. Rather than letting these delay investment in training for you and your staff, they make it all the more urgent. The competitiveness of your business depends on it.
Invest in knowledge and interest will soon accrue in terms of chance of survival, business performance and, crucially, employee satisfaction. If a business has a culture of ongoing professional development and is willing to invest in their employees, it is more likely that staff will remain engaged and committed to the company for the long term.
In 2017, the SFA is focusing our course offering on the areas that will most benefit a small business. No matter what stage of development your business is at, these courses are designed to address your needs. Based on your feedback, the courses are short and are offered at very reasonable rates.
Now is the time to invest in yourself and your employees. Avail of the training opportunities presented in the SFA ‘Unlock your potential 2017’ brochure to bolster your competitiveness and equip your business for the future.
Next available courses:
- Foundations in Management, two-day course, 7-8 September, Dublin, €190 for SFA members
- Project Management, one-day course, 15 September, Dublin, €370 for SFA members
To book your place, visit www.sfa.ie/events
Irish Business Monitor June 2017
Your Business Live, Ireland’s major SME event brings you the Irish Business Monitor – an indicator for businesses in Ireland, in partnership with SFA, Ibec and Enterprise Ireland...
Your Business Live, Ireland’s major SME event brings you the Irish Business Monitor – an indicator for businesses in Ireland, in partnership with SFA, Ibec and Enterprise Ireland.
Please answer the survey to ensure that your business is part of this monitor across sectors, industries and regions. Your contribution is important to us.
Your Business Live is offering respondents the chance to win an ipad, one years’ subscription to the digital edition of The Irish Independent and a pair of tickets to the Your Business Live SME event taking place October 17 and 18 2017 in the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin.
Click here to take part in the Irish Business Monitor.