The Small Firms Association launched the results of their SFA National Employment Law Survey. The Assistant Director of the SFA, Avine McNally, stated “the volume of rules and regulations regarding employment law remains a significant problem for small businesses. As an employer, there are 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!”
The Employment Law Survey was carried out in the first quarter of 2012. The questionnaire was distributed to 520 small firms and the sample was drawn from manufacturing, distribution, retail and services sectors and from a regionally representative sample across the Irish Republic.
Some of the main findings of the survey showed that:
· 77% of small businesses do not have a dedicated HR resource to assist them in dealing with the complexities of employment law;
· 54% of small businesses surveyed viewed compliance with employment law to be a significant regulatory burden;
· 92% indicated that there was no visible reduction in employment law administrative burden.
“It is the strongly held view of small business that enterprise development in Ireland is unnecessarily and severely handicapped by the amount of bureaucracy and the costs associated with it, imposing significant compliance and administrative costs on firms weakens the ability of businesses to adapt to changing economic conditions,” commented McNally.
87% of respondents indicated that the possible introduction of mandatory sick pay would have the following impact on their business:
· 74% would be affected by cashflow and higher absence;
· 57% stated it would restrict their future recruitment and
· 50% indicated that it may lead to job losses.
The survey does show that despite the difficulties involved, small firms are putting correct policies and procedures in place. 96% of companies have a health & safety statement in place, 80% have an anti-harassment/bullying policy and 90% have discipline & dismissal procedures.
41% of companies have no email and internet policy in place, “this is an area that employers do not realise can cause major issues for them, the growing propensity of e-mail and internet abuse across society, is now finding expression in the workplace, employers must remember that they will be held legally liable if their employees misuse their IT systems”, said McNally.
The survey also reveals that the majority of small companies have no measures in place to record working-time, either through a clocking-in or manual-recording system. “Less than one quarter of companies (23%) have such systems in place, despite the fact that there has been a legal obligation under the Organisation of Working Time Act, since 2001”, added McNally.
81% of Companies stated that they retain absenteeism records, “by monitoring absenteeism levels in an organisation, absence can be highlighted at an early stage and appropriate action can be taken to deal with the problem,” commented McNally.