Chambers Ireland Weekly Digest: 9th Oct 2017

 

  • The One4all Spotlight Awards 2017

Nominate a colleague for the One4all Spotlight Awards!

  • Free entry
  • Your colleague could win up to €500
  • Great way to recognise staff

The One4all Spotlight Awards, in association with Chambers Ireland, have been launched to help shine a light on employees that deserve special recognition within their organisations. With recent research showing that 40% of Irish companies do not offer any sort of benefit/reward for staff loyalty, this is your opportunity to recognise and reward a member of staff who goes above and beyond in their role to achieve success.

The Spotlights are completely free to enter, and submitting your entry takes less than five minutes. Whether you have a great colleague who deserves a little more recognition or an outstanding team member who has contributed to the success of your business, the Spotlights are your chance to say ‘thank you’.

The Spotlights will be judged by a panel of judges that will include independent and Chambers representatives from around the country. One overall Spotlights winner will be chosen and awarded a €500 One4all Gift Card and a trophy, while Silver and Bronze winners will receive €300 and €200 Gift Cards respectively.

To nominate a member of staff, simply visit www.one4allrewards.ie/spotlights and fill in the short form above. Entries close on Friday 27th October. Judging will take place Friday 3rd November, with winners being contacted and announced shortly afterwards.

  • Peninsula HR Advice: Maternity Leave vs. Paternity Leave in Relation to Gender Equality

Background of the Case

Does maternity leave and paternity leave differ in the eyes of Irish employment legislation? Peninsula employment law and HR experts review a recent equality claim brought before the Workplace Relations Commission in relation to parental leave…

In the case of An Area Manager v A Transport Company ADJ-0000577, the Workplace Relations Commission ruled that there was no discrimination when the company chose to top up salaries for maternity leave, but not paternity leave.

Since the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, many organisations have amended their handbooks/policies to change their existing paternity leave to be in line with current legislation. In this case, the Transport Company had provided three day’s paid paternity leave prior to the legislation being enacted.

Once the Act had been introduced, they felt there was enough protective legislation in place, so they decided to terminate this scheme, advising employees that they would receive the statutory paternity benefit only.

Another key fact, in this case, was that if a female employee did not work up enough D1 PRSI classification she would not be entitled to statutory payment, but the organisation would give female employees full pay for 26 weeks of maternity leave. If they had enough PRSI paid, then the organisation would top up their payment to their normal basic pay for the 26 weeks.

The complainant did not work up enough D1 PRSI classification (meaning he was not entitled to statutory paternity payment), but the organisation would not pay him the two weeks’ payment resulting in him being unable to take this time off as he had intended.

The complainant brought a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission alleging that he had been discriminated against on the grounds of gender, which is governed by the Employment Equality Act 1998-2015.

Outcome 

The Adjudication Officer ruled that topping up female salaries during maternity leave, and not topping up paternity leave, was not discriminatory, as the Irish legal system protects maternity leave to a very high standard and it is completely different to paternity leave.

Every organisation has a right make special provisions for women in connection with pregnancy and maternity, given the special protection that are in place both in Irish and EU Law.

If you have any questions regarding maternity leave or paternity leave entitlements, please contact Peninsula’s 24 Hour Advice Service on 01 855 50 50

  • GPP4Growth Stakeholder Event – Portlaoise, October 2017

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment have organised a second GPP4Growth Stakeholder Event for Thursday 12th of October from 9am to 2.30pm including lunch. The workshop will take place in the Midlands Park Hotel (formerly Portlaoise Heritage Hotel). 

This event will look at barriers to Green Public Procurement in Ireland at national and local level, and will aim to identify the key actions that could help drive an increase in GPP.  

Booking for this free event is now open at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/gpp4g-workshop-1-tickets-37417149702 and the password is DCCAE2017. 

Attendees who wish to stay at the hotel the night before can avail of a reduced rate using the discount code DCCAE when booking through www.midlandsparkhotel.com.

  • Electric Vehicles for Business

Electric vehicles (EVs) are not only environmentally friendly; they are also good for business.

What are the Benefits of Electric Vehicles for business in Ireland?

  • Tax Benefits: Electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure qualify for Accelerated Capital Allowances as well as reduced motor tax.
  • Grant Support: SEAI (http://www.seai.ie/) offer a purchase grant of up to €3,800 for N1 category vehicles.
  • Running Costs: Savings on fuel and maintenance costs when compared to petrol or diesel vehicle equivalents.
  • Environmental Image: Electric vehicles can play an integral role in environmental CSR strategies, alongside significantly reducing a business’s carbon footprint.

EVs are fast becoming an economical choice for businesses.

Thermodial, a leader in the Irish building service engineering sector since 1987, has embarked on a 5 year programme to convert its entire vehicle fleet (35 vehicles) to EVs. Commenting on the decision to make the switch, Thermodial Managing Director Turlough Kinane, said “Energy management is a rising global theme that is very relevant to our business as reflected by our attainment of the ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management System in 2016. We didn’t take long to first assess and then invest on the basis that it is the right thing for us to do both professionally, environmentally and financially too.”

The company has already made the move to phase-in new electric vans (zero-emissions Nissan eNV200s) as old, diesel-powered vehicles reach replacement age. The entire Thermodial fleet will be 100% electric by 2022.

For more information on electric vehicles and associated incentives please visit http://www.seai.ie/grants/electric-vehicle-grants/

  • EIT call for expressions of interest for Governing Board

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology recently launched a Call for expressions of interest for the selection of five members of the EIT Governing Board. The EIT Governing Board is entrusted with providing the strategic leadership of the EIT. The board is independent and autonomous in its decision-making and is responsible for the selection, designation and evaluation of the EIT’s Innovation Communities.

For more information on the Call for expressions and application process please visit our website: https://eit.europa.eu/newsroom/call-expressions-interest-eit-governing-board-2017

  • Enterprise Ireland- Meet the Buyer for the construction of the new children’s hospital

Enterprise Ireland in association with the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board would like to invite you to a Meet the Buyer Event for the construction of the New Children’s Hospital. This event will offer you the opportunity to meet with the contractors, BAM Building Ltd, Jones Engineering Group and Mercury Engineering Ireland and pitch for business. To register, just click on the link below.

  • Date: 25th October
  • Time: 8am – 12 noon
  • Venue: Royal Hospital Kilmainham Dublin 8

To register: https://www.eventsforce.net/enterpriseireland/2168/home

  • Mediation Awareness Week 7-14 Oct 2017

Mediation Awareness Week is confirmed to take place this week on the 7-14 October. If interested in attending please contact emma.kerins@chambers.ie. More information on the wide range of events taking place around the country is listed at http://www.mediationawarenessweek.ie/. These include an event hosted by Wexford Chamber- The Cost of Conflict and a joint event hosted by the Law Society and CIArb Ireland.

The Mediation Act has recently been signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins. The passage of this legislation was welcomed by Chambers Ireland earlier in September. For more information on mediation and the Business and Commercial mediation service administered by Chambers Ireland, please see our website.

Speakers include Liam Guidera (Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran), Richard Lee (Principal Lee Solicitors) and more to be confirmed.

  • Date: Friday 13 October 2017 (9.30am -11.30am)
  • Venue: Blue Room, The Law Society of Ireland
  • CPD Hours: For solicitors – 1 Gen Hour and 1 M&PD hour

Book your free ticket by registering here. For any queries please contact John Lunney: J.Lunney@LawSociety.ie

  • Future of Europe Public Consultation, 20 Oct 2017

The Oireachtas Committee on EU Affairs is seeking submissions on the Future of Europe White Paper and is asking for interested parties to submit their views before the 20 October. Chambers Ireland has been actively engaged in the Future of Europe debate and has previously spoken at an event hosted by the EESC in Dublin’s Mansion House. The Committee now wants to hear the views of as many Irish citizens as possible, including but not limited to, what form they would like the future of Europe to take; what they feel is working; what isn’t working. The White Paper represents a valuable opportunity for Europeans to contribute towards charting the way forward as the EU navigates uncertain times. The White Paper, published by the European Commission, can be viewed here.

Chambers Ireland would like to hear your views on what you think the future of the EU should look like. Please send you views to emma.kerins@chambers.ie before the 16th October 2017.

  • Budget 2018, 10 Oct 2017

Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe will deliver Budget 2018 to the Dáil this Tuesday, 10 October. In the run up to Budget Day, we will be tweeting our key messages daily and boosting some of our relevant blog content.  You will have received a social media toolkit for sharing some of the key #Budget18 asks across social media, which we encourage you to use in the coming days.

The Chambers Ireland Pre Budget Submission is available online here.  You will also have received policy cheat sheets, with background information on our key policy areas, over the summer months supporting the material covered in the Pre Budget. If there is anything specific that you would like further information on from a policy perspective or for social media use please do let me know.  

The Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight published its pre-Budget report on the 5 October. Chambers Ireland presented to the Committee on the 20 September and several of our recommendations to the Committee were included in their final report, including our calls for investment in infrastructure, investment in childcare, maintaining the 9% VAT rate and the retention of our 12.5% corporate tax rate.

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