The Midlands region of the CIPD held its annual Employment Law update on Wednesday November 4 in Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ). This very well attended event was held in conjunction with AIT, with guest speaker Avine McNally, assistant director of the Small Firms Association (SFA ).
Offering a practical approach for businesses, the event was focused at small and medium enterprises that don’t typically have specialised HR practitioners.
Director of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ), Professor Ciarán O’Cathain, outlined his support for the work of CIPD Midlands Region and commended the committee on responding on the findings and recommendations of the Midlands Gateway’ Assessment of Skill Needs report by focusing events such as this on the needs of the small and medium organisations. He reiterated the importance of the HR function and knowledge of employment legislation in all organisations, and also commented on the increasing numbers of mature students joining the student population of AIT and the positive influence they are bringing to the college
The keynote speaker for the evening, Avine McNally, has been working with the SFA for the past 13 years, with a particular focus on the area of employment law. Avine emphasised the importance of HR for SMEs, as 68 per cent do not have a dedicated HR practitioner, and it is mainly left to the owner / managers or finance to find out the answers to employment based queries and issues. She also referred to the SFA Business Sentiment Survey, published in September, quoting some rather bleak findings such as the fact that 23 per cent of companies were planning to reduce permanent employees, and 59 per cent were freezing recruitment.
Avine proceeded to speak about labour cost savings in small firms, outlining the differences between redundancy, short time, and lay off. Guidelines were provided on each of the scenarios, when they apply, and how to avoid legal pitfalls when applying such measures in the workplace.
She also dealt with a number of redundancy and lay off queries from attendees, and invited people to log onto the Small Firms website, www.sfa.ie, to look at the information available to firms by the association.
For further information on Midlands CIPD events in the forthcoming year please email [email protected].