SFA National Employment Law Conference 2015

Thursday, 24 September 2015

‘Lack of knowledge’ or ‘being a small company’ is not a defence in employment law cases – the best defence is to be prepared!” Patricia Callan, Director, SFA.

SFA National Employment Law Conference 2015

Major SFA Employment Law Survey Shows:
  • 85% of small businesses do not have a dedicated HR resource
  • 58% view employment law as a significant regulatory burden
  • 56% of small companies view employment law as a disincentive to employing staff
  • Labour Law is a huge burden for small firms!

The Small Firms Association, Ireland’s largest small business organisation, is today hosting a major National Employment Law Conference in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Co. Dublin.

Speaking to the 200 delegates from small businesses across the country, the Director of the Small Firms Association, Patricia Callan, stated that “2015 will see the biggest transformation in industrial relations machinery in over 25 years, with the transition to the new Workplace Relations Commission on 1st October. In the past year alone, small employers have had to contend with a raft of new legislation including the Protected Disclosure Act 2014 (whistleblowing legislation), Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 (collective bargaining and REAs), the Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2015, the new entitlement to accrue annual leave whilst on sick leave, and the recent European ruling on work travel time.”

Callan continued “As an employer, there are now over 40 pieces of primary legislation relating to employment matters, that must be dealt with, irrespective of whether the Company employs 1 or 1,000 staff. Employment Law really has become a “minefield” for small businesses!”

A recent SFA survey showed that 85% of small businesses do not have a dedicated HR resource to assist them in dealing with the complexities of employment law. The average number of employees in the 15% of companies, who did employ a HR person, was 67.

58% of small businesses surveyed viewed compliance with employment law to be a significant regulatory burden, whilst 56% actually were of the opinion that employment law acts as a disincentive to employing staff. “A major requirement for small business is flexibility. The extent, scope and impact of employment legislation hits small firms hardest as they are least able to absorb the loss of flexibility and increase costs which occur as a result”, commented Callan.

“In addition to these compliance costs, the direct cost of labour to Irish employers is rising significantly with Irish labour costs now the 11th highest in Europe and 21% above the EU average. Total business costs are 25% lower in the UK than in Ireland. Government changes over the last number of years in PRSI, illness benefit, redundancy rebate, health insurance and general taxation have all impacted negatively and must be reviewed in the upcoming budget. We need to see adjustments in the PRSI system to compensate employers and make the benefit real for employees for the proposed increase of 50c in the statutory minimum wage. We remain firmly opposed to the introduction of mandatory pension or sick pay provision or the ‘living wage’ and are seeking the reintroduction of the redundancy rebate for employers in Budget 2016”, stated Callan.

“The increasing burden of employment law, which directly affects an already increasing cost of labour, is going to derail the Government’s job creation efforts if we don’t take action. The creation and sustaining of jobs must remain this Government’s No. 1 priority”, concluded Callan.


For further comment, please contact:
Patricia Callan, Director, Small Firms Association at Tel: 01-6051602 or 087-6999345 or e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie or Tweet: @SFA_Irl

Issued by Linda Barry, Assistant Director, Small Firms Association, Tel: 01-6051626, email: linda.barry@sfa.ie

Over the past year, the SFA has received 60,000 calls from member companies for expert advice on issues relating to Employment Law, whilst more than 2.5 million requests have been registered on our website, www.sfa.ie for this type of information. Discipline & dismissals, contracts of employment and annual leave and public holidays, are the areas of most concern to member companies.