SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.


Last week, the SFA team along with our awards partners and the awards judges met with An Taoiseach for the launch of the SFA National Small Business Awards 2020.


The Awards are now open, you can apply yourself or you can nominate a small business that you believe will win Irelands next ‘Best Small Business’. The SFA Awards are open to all small businesses whether you are a member or non-member. Check out what category suits your business best. Members can hear from former SFA award winners at our Back to Business event. 


In this week's newsletter we provide an update on the electrical contracting and construction sectors' pay rates under the new and updated Sectoral Employment Orders. Our Brexit article forces on how the construction sector can get Brexit ready. Both articles are a must read for those in the construction and electrical sectors.


For those with responsibility for health and safety in the workplace, the Health and Safety Authority are running a series of free Ergonomic workshops in October


When consulting with our members for the recent SFA Skillnet funding application, many had questions about how to correctly identify the training needs for themselves and their staff. As a result, we have put together some steps on how to assess training needs in your organisation.


Our “Meet the Buyer” event on upcoming commercial opportunities with Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland takes place on 17th September in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, we would love to see many small businesses attend. Bookings are now open for the SFA Annual Lunch on 15th November 2020. We also provide a summary of our 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 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

Electrical contracting and construction sectors pay rates

From 1 September 2019 a new Sectoral Employment Order came into effect for the electrical contracting sector and new pay rates for the Construction sector come into effect on 1 October 2019 

Last year the Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the construction sector was introduced. It streamlined rates of pay for workers in the construction sector and introduced benefits such as sick pay, death in service benefit, a contributory pension and a dispute resolution mechanism.   

Earlier this year, the pay rates for the Construction Sector was revised and they come into effect on 1 October.  


A similar SEO was introduced for the Electrical Contracting sector and these are in effect since 1 September 2019. Below we detail the new and changed pay rates for both sectors and go through the main items in each of them.  


What types of workers are detailed in the Construction SEO? 


Construction workers who are directly employer or hired via an employment agency 


  • Craftsperson aged 18 and over carrying out work as follows: Bricklayers, Stone Layers, Carpenters, Joiners, Floor Layers, Plasterers, Painters, Stone Cutters, Wood Machinists, Slaters and Tilers 

  • Category A Worker aged 18 and over with 4 or more years’ experience carrying work out as follows: Scaffolders, Banksmen, Steel Fixers, Crane Drivers and Heavy Machine Operators 

  • Category B Workers aged 18 and over with 2 or more years’ experience working as Skilled General Operatives in the construction sector 

  • New Entrant Workers aged 18 and over who have under 2 years’ experience working as a General Operative in the construction sector for the first time 

  • Apprentice aged 15 and over 


What are the new rates of pay for Construction workers that apply from 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020? 


Worker Type 

Pay rate 


€19.96 per hour 

Category A worker 

€19.37 per hour 

Category B worker 

€17.97 per hour 

New Entrant 



Year 1 – 33.3% of Craft rate 

Year 2 – 50% of Craft rate 

Year 3 – 75% of Craft rate 

Year 4 – 90% of Craft rate 

What types of workers are detailed in the Electrical Contracting SEO? 


Electricians who are directly employed or hired via an employment agency 


  • Category 1 Worker who is a newly qualified Electrician 

  • Category 2 Worker who is a qualified Electrician with 3 or more years’ experience  

  • Category 3 Worker who is a qualified Electrician with 6 or more years’ experience  

  • Apprentice aged 15 and over  


What are the rates of pay for Electricians which apply from 1 September 2019? 


Worker Type 

Pay rate 

Category 1 worker 


Category 2 worker 


Category 3 worker 



Year 1 – €7.05 per hour 

Year 2 – €10.57 per hour 

Year 3 – €15.27 per hour 

Year 4 – €18.80 per hour 


What is the normal working week and normal working hours under each SEO? 

The normal working week is 39 hours from Monday to Friday. 


The normal hours are eight consecutive hours between 7am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 7am to 4pm on Friday. 


Will I have to pay more for additional / unsocial hours under each SEO? 

Yes, the following overtime rates apply: 


  • Monday to Friday from normal finishing time to midnight = time plus a half 

  • Monday to Friday from midnight to normal starting time = double time 

  • Saturday (1) first 4 hours from normal starting time = time plus a half 

  • Saturday (2) all subsequent hours until midnight = double time 

  • Sunday – all hours worked = double time 

  • Public holidays – all hours worked = double time plus an additional day’s leave 


In addition, for the Electrical Contracting sector, there is a section whereby for specific projects that differ from the normal daily working hours, the following rates must be applied: 


  • Where the starting time is before 1pm = 8 hours at time plus one quarter 

  • Where the starting time is after 1pm = 8 hours at time plus one third 


What other benefits are provided for in each SEO? 

The SEOs set out details for the contributory pension scheme, the death in service contribution and sick pay scheme.  Finally, both SEOs set out the dispute resolution procedure to handle any grievances or collective disputes that must be followed before employees can go on strike or undergo any other form of industrial action.  


Details of both SEOs can be found here and we recommend you review the SEO for your sector.   


For further information on SEOs or other pay issues, please contact Helen Quinn on helen.quinn@sfa.ie or 01 605 1668. 




Free Ergonomic workshops

For those with responsibility for health and safety in the workplace, the Health and Safety Authority are running a series of free Ergonomic workshops in October…. 


The Health and Safety Authority are running a series of free Ergonomic Workshops in Dublin, Dundalk, Athlone and Limerick from 1 October until 17 October. 


These half day workshops focus on the practical ergonomic risk assessment tools to help employers identify and manage risks in relation to musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.


Attendees will gain an understanding into the importance of ergonomics, how to use practical risk assessment tools to quantify ergonomic risks and the importance of controlling risks in this area via case studies.  


The workshop is ideal for those with responsibility for health and safety in the workplace and the programme includes the following: 

  • Opening address on Ergonomics from the Health and Safety Authority 
  • Ergonomics interventions in the workplace 
  • Introduction to the manual handling assessment charts tool 
  • Practical mac tool workshop 
  • Introduction to the assessment of repetitive tasks tool
  • Practical art tool workshop 

The workshops run from 08:30am to 1pm and they are free to attend. For more details and how to book please visit the HSA.


SFA Skillnet

We have put together some steps on how to correctly identify the training needs of your small business.


When consulting with our members for the recent SFA Skillnet funding application, many had questions about how to correctly identify the training needs for themselves and their staff. As a result, we have put together some steps on how to assess training needs in your organisation.


Let our SFA Skillnet 3 Stage Process help you devise a skills audit and figure out what your training needs are. Whether you are operating on your own or with employees, you will need to keep your business up to date and aligned with your strategy. Consider the following steps to help you identify any gaps in your organisation’s skills:

1. Business Assessment: are you clear on your business strategy? Do you know where you want the business to be in the next 3-5 years?
2. Skills Audit: measure the skills in the business and determine if there are any gaps that need addressing. Owner managers should remember to address their own skills as well
3. Training Needs Analysis: develop a training plan to address the workforce skills gap. Consider incorporating this into a personal development plan for each employee.

Please contact Geraldine Lavin, SFA Skillnet Network Manager, on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 01 6051606 to discuss your training needs and to get assistance with your training analysis.

The SFA Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

Construction Sector Brexit update

New ‘no deal’ Brexit information for the construction sector on the manufacture or use CE-marked construction products…

New ‘no deal’ Brexit information has been made available for the construction sector on the manufacture or use of CE-marked construction products.


This new guidance explains how to check the CE marks of products to find out if a ‘no deal’ Brexit might impact you. If you are a manufacturer, importer, distributor, authorised representative of construction products or a builder, specifier, certifier or construction professional, a ‘no deal’ Brexit might affect you! 


Members working in this area are also advised to consult the following websites for more information on how to prepare for Brexit:

  • Additional information on Brexit and the Construction Products Regulation can be found on the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s webpage.
  • For support and guidance on standards and certification members should contact the National Standards Authority of Ireland, which is an EU ‘notified body’: www.nsai.ie Email: brexitunit@nsai.ie Telephone: 01 8073800
  • If you plan on importing goods from the UK after Brexit, you, or a representative on your behalf, will need to complete customs formalities. For information on your customs responsibilities visit: www.revenue.ie/brexit
  • Read the Brexit Preparedness Checklist to know the essential actions firms can take before 31 October 2019 to ensure they will still be able to trade with the UK after it leaves the EU.

As you ramp up your contingency plans, SFA is here to help. Please get in touch if you would like to talk to our policy expert, or HR professional or if you have any other queries or comments.

Recent press coverage

SFA National Small Business Awards launch

SFA Annual Awards launch

The SFA issued a press release on the launch of the National Small Business Awards on 5th September 2019.

  • Business World - 6 September
  • Sunday Independent - 8 September
  • Irish Independent - 10 September
SFA Employment Law Conference
  • Limerick - 3 October
  • Dublin - 17 October

Navigating the maze of employment law


The rise and complexity in the Irish employment law landscape is increasing year on year. This is particularly challenging for small business owners who are time poor and wear multiple hats within their company. So how can small businesses navigate the maze of employment law and be confident that they are complying with their obligations to their staff? The SFA employment law seminar is the solution.


In 2018 and 2019 there has been a raft of employment law from changes to contracts, the introduction of banded hours and increases in parental leave. The SFA employment law seminar will take you through the recent changes within contracts, how to determine the status of a genuine self-employed person and the proposed changes in parental leave.


We will also cover bullying and harassment, work related stress case, as well as the dos and don’ts of disciplinaries and dismissals.


The one day seminar is taking place in Limerick on 3 October and in Dublin on 17 October. Tickets costs €210 +VAT for SFA members and €295 +VAT for non-members. 





  • Practical examples in action
  • Self-employment

Bullying and Harassment 

  • Table top exercise in a bullying case
  • One or two case law

Work related stress


OHS/Long working hours panel

  • Key learnings
  • Top things recognised

Family Leave

  • Parental Leave- Increased parental leave
  • Benefit Act

Discipline and Dismissal (Do/Donts)

  • Case studies- Practical
  • Role play

Book your place at the Limerick event or the Dublin event today. 

Secure Computing Forum
  • 12 September 

Data Solutions and INM Events are delighted to offer SFA members a delegate discount to ‘Secure Computing Forum 2019’ a full-day conference on 12th September in the RDS Venue Hall 6, Anglesea Rd, Dublin 4. Now in its seventh year, this full-day conference will address 2019’s hot cybersecurity trends.


Leading speakers and industry experts will focus on topics including the ‘dark net’, crypto-currencies, surveillance technology, machine learning, cyber privacy and will provide tips for creating a cyber-savvy workplace. What are the most dangerous new attack techniques? How do they work? How can you stop them? What’s coming next and how you can prepare!


This conference is specifically tailored to meet the interests of senior business and IT professionals from Irish & UK organisations of all sizes. Network with your peers from across the business spectrum as well as semi-state bodies and government organisations.


To find out more about this unique event, and to avail of this great offer log onto www.securecomputingforum.ie and insert promo code SCFIBEC at checkout.

Meet the Buyer
  • 17 September

Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland, are part of Ervia a commercial semi-state multi-utility company responsible for the delivery of Ireland’s national gas and water infrastructure and services and provide dark fibre broadband infrastructure through their business Aurora Telecom.


Ervia, Small Firms Association and Ibec are pleased to invite members to a special “Meet the Buyer” event on upcoming commercial opportunities on Tuesday, 17 September at the Gibson Hotel, Point Square, Dublin, D01 X2P2. The event runs from 8.30am-1pm. Registration and Refreshments begin at 8am.

Business opportunities can be expected in the coming months across the seven following broad category areas:

  •  Assets & Equipment
  • Customer Care
  • IT
  • Operations, Consumables & Services
  • Professional Services
  • Supply Chain
  • Telecoms


A full overview of each category/sub-category is included below.


This is a tailored event to allow attendees understand how to win business with Ervia. There will be an overview of the business, briefings on upcoming opportunities and how the organisation procures products and services. Attendees will also hear from companies already engaged in Ervia’s supply-chain.


Ervia’s category teams will be present on the day for face-to-face meetings with potential suppliers. This will allow attendees to better understand the opportunities for their business.


Break-out sessions will also be held to allow attendees gain an understanding on how to find upcoming opportunities and advice for bidding for this important business.


To attend, please confirm your attendance here.



SCADA / Telemetry Services & Managed Network Services

IT Services for Private Cloud Hosting


IT Support & Maintenance

Cloud Web Services

Market Intelligence - Professional Services

Business Continuity Services

SCADA Engineering Services (Subject Matter Experts & Engineers, Maintenance & Upgrades & Enhancements)

Laboratory Information Management System

Mobile Application Platform
Professional Services

Audit and Financial Services

Insurance - Non Energy

Commercial Insurance (Broker & Underwriter)

Economic & Regulation Advisory Services

Legal Services Panel (UK)

Health, Safety, Quality & Environmental Inspection Services

Planning Services

Water Network Modelling

Wastewater Source Control

Technical Surveying Services

Gas Technical Consultancy Specialist Services

Gas Engineering Consultancy Services (UK)

Portfolio Support Services
Operations, Consumables & Services

Chemical Suppliers - Water/Wastewater Treatment

Compressed Natural Gas Unit - Maintenance Services

Gas Transmission On-line Inspection Services

Wastewater Environmental Inspection & Consultancy Services

Operation & Maintenance Spares (Vendor/Inventory Management)
Assets & Equipment

Laboratory Services

Steel Linepipe;

Design & Build Contractors for Biomethane

Aerators (waste water)

Screens and Screen Handling Equipment (waste water)

Compressors (waste water)

Blowers (waste water)

Station Control Systems Hardware (Water & Gas)

Gas Metering

Gas Valves (valves, excess flow valves, high pressure fittings)

bio-methane systems

Gas Pressure Reduction Systems

Supply chain Inventory Mgt, Logistics & Warehousing



Back to Business
  • 19 September

At Back to Business delegates will hear from experts such as Jo Collins, MD of Sales Performance Consulting and Sales Training Services on how to focus on your sales plan in the months ahead. Attendees will learn how to re-energise their team from Brian Smyth, MD of Maybe International. Following the recent launch of the SFA National Small Business Awards, SFA award winning business owners will speak about how they have grown their businesses on the back of the Awards. This will be a great opportunity for networking too.

On the night, we will be joined by our awards sponsors and partners. NSAI, Permanent TSB, One4All, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IEDR, DeCare Dental, Skillnet Ireland and Vodafone.

Back to Business will take place on 19th September at the Alex Hotel, Fenian St., Dublin 2 from 18.00pm – 20.30pm

This event is free of charge and pre-registration online is essential. Please book now to avoid missing out.


6.00pm - Registration and Networking
6.30pm - Welcome and SFA Awards overview
6.40pm - Sales – doing the basics brilliantly – Jo Collins, MD, Sales Performance Consulting and Sales Training Services
7.10pm - Achieve a higher level of performance, Brian Smyth, MD Maybe International
7.40pm - Networking
8.30pm-  Event ends