On 25th March, we held our annual conference titled ‘Navigating Your Business Through Uncertainty’ virtually and with great success. The conference was aimed towards providing further knowledge to SMEs on how to avail of government supports, funding and alternative finance. During the current challenging climate, we understand the importance of supplying our clients with necessary advice. We understand the challenges that SMEs face, namely because we are one ourselves.
Among the main topics discussed were funding for growth, pension and wealth management, currencies and Brexit, post-lockdown funding and supports for SMEs, and stabilising economic growth.
- The keynote speaker for our conference was Jim Barry of BlackRock Alternatives. Jim addressed topics such as volatility, climate change, inflation and globalization.
- Mark Flood from Renatus, alongside Alan O’Dea from Beechbrook Capital, discussed alternative funding available to SMEs, outside of traditional banks.
- John McInerney from Aviva gave attendees insights into the wide variety of pension options available and how to select a pension option to suit your requirements.
- Lastly, John Finn of Treasury Solutions, discussed topics such as Brexit, currency and the importance of ensuring you have a reliable advisor within the bank.
New Website Launch
With the success of hosting the virtual conference, we are very excited to announce the launch of our new and improved website at www.paulodonovan.ie.
Our administration team worked extremely hard on this project to get it over the line. The site is now more user friendly, easier to navigate with clear and concise detail of the wide variety of services we offer here and frequent updates on news and approaching events.
Head on over to our website at www.paulodonovan.ie to learn all about who we are, what we’ve achieved and details on all the services we offer.
Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme
On 31st March, the Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin TD alongside Fáilte Ireland, announced the launch of a €17m fund, where businesses serving food can apply for funding to assist them in paying for increased outdoor seating.
This two-part scheme aims to aid businesses to increase outdoor dining capacity in the short term. It will first see funding in the form of grants (worth up to €4,000) for individual tourism and hospitality businesses. Part one of the scheme will be open to initial applications for such businesses on 12th April.
Part two will offer grants (worth up to €200,000) to each local authority for the development of permanent outdoor dining infrastructure. All applicants will be obliged to comply with planning codes, legislative and other requirements.
The aim of the latter half of the scheme is to create nationwide year-round dining facilities, similar to that of European cities.
Enhanced Parents Leave entitlement
On April 1st, The Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2021 came into effect.
The new terms under the above Act are as follows:
- A further three-week Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit to each relevant parent of a child born or adopted on or after 01 November 2019.
- The period in which the leave and benefit can be taken has been extended so that parents can now take the leave and avail of the benefit for up to two years from the birth or adoption of the child.
- Adoptive Leave and Benefit is now available to male same sex couples.
- Adoptive couples can now choose which of them will avail of Adoptive Leave, with Paternity Leave and Benefit being available for the other parent.
This extension brings the total of leave available per parent to 5 weeks. It is important to note this time is non-transferrable between parents. This helps to ensure that both parents are encouraged and supported in taking time away from work to spend with their child in the earliest years.
Those entitled to take parents leave are:
- A parent of the child
- A spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant of the parent of the child
- A parent of a donor-conceived child as provided for under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015
- The qualifying adopter of a child
- The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the qualifying adopter of the child
Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect
On 1st April, the Tánaiste signed a new Code of Practice giving all employees the Right to Disconnect from work and have a better work-life balance, as part of his plan to establish more flexible family-friendly working arrangements for employees.
The code enables employees to switch off from work outside of their agreed working hours. This includes not having to immediately respond to emails or phone calls.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) assisted in designing the code of practice, which is applicable to all types of employment, including remote working. These rights have become increasingly relevant in the world we live in today, where remote working has become very common.
There are three central rights preserved in the Code which are as follows:
- The right of an employee to not have to routinely perform work outside their normal working hours.
- The right not to be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours.
- The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect – not to routinely make or send work calls or emails outside of normal working hours.
For a firm to develop a Right to Disconnect Policy, employers are encouraged to communicate with their employees and to consider the requirements of both the staff and the business.
It is very important to remember that not all businesses operate a typically normal working week, therefore flexibility will be necessary as agreed and set out in the terms and conditions of the staff’s employment. This also signifies the fact that countless Irish employees nowadays are part of a global network, requiring contact with co-workers around the world in different time-zones.
In such cases where employees have flexible working arrangements in place, clear boundaries must be created between work time and personal time and this should not be compromised.