Employment law compliance a growing burden on small firms

Small firms are struggling to get to grips with the growing burden of employment law. That was the message from SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens who was speaking at the opening of the Small Firms Association’s annual Employment Law Conference in Clontarf Castle, Dublin.

Spollen-Behrens stated that the establishment of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in 2015 was a major change in the employment law landscape, one that small firms have been adapting to over the past two years.

He said: “The regulatory burden of complying with over 40 pieces of employment law is a major challenge for all small businesses, many of whom cannot afford to employ a dedicated HR person. Owner-managers are juggling this growing burden of compliance while also trying to manage rising business costs and the uncertainty created by Brexit. It is imperative that the Government develops a robust SME Test to assess the impact of any new legislation on small business before it is enacted.”

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As well as addressing issues relating to employment law, the conference will also prepare small business for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). “The clock is ticking, counting down to the introduction of the GDPR, which introduces major new obligations on businesses of all sizes,” said Spollen-Behrens. “It is one of the most significant legislative changes for business in many years, yet a staggering 70 per cent of businesses are unaware of when the GDPR will become effective.”

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