Business responds to Finance Bill, and latest Ibec HR Survey report

October 21, 2022

The latest CEO Update from Danny McCoy to Ibec membership. 

Dear member,

Yesterday we saw Government publish the Finance Bill, activating the energy support schemes and measures that had been announced in last month’s Budget. 

Such schemes will provide welcome support to many companies throughout winter. However, technical changes may be necessary to ensure that anomalies, cliff edge effects and market distortions do not arise out of the package.

Care needs to be taken that the hard cap of €30,000 in energy supports per company is adjusted to take regard for threats to viability or reductions in activity or opening hours for businesses which might own multiple locations or sites. This could be done by allowing for additional support above the cap for companies which can show direct threats to their ongoing viability.

In addition, feedback from Ibec members is that changes to Benefit in Kind (BIK) on company cars is causing significant concern amongst their workforces given the financial pressures many are now facing. Whilst the rationale for the changes was sound when announced in Finance Bill 2019, the costs involved could run into multiple thousands in additional taxation for workers on relatively modest salaries. It is our view that these changes should be delayed until the economic environment improves.

Ibec will continue to engage with Government to ensure that these concerns are heard, and I will keep you updated on any developments in this space. 

Yesterday also saw the welcome return to Croke Park for our flagship HR Leadership Summit. With nearly 400 delegates in attendance, it was an excellent opportunity to spotlight the many challenges and opportunities facing HR practitioners and indeed, the broader business community. 

The Summit saw the publication of our latest HR Update report, which captures the prevailing workplace trends in Irish business. Amongst the key findings of the report include:
80% of employers are planning for pay increases in 2023, with an average increase of 3.8%.
54% of respondents are planning to increase their headcount in 2023. There is a high level of competition for talent and skills particularly evident for those with IT skills.
Although 6 in 10 businesses have an ESG or sustainability strategy, social initiatives (46%) are trending as a higher focus in terms of attracting/retaining talent.

You can listen back to some of the highlights from the Summit as well as from some of the event’s speakers, including Ibec’s Executive Director of Employer Relations Maeve McElwee, on this week’s Taking Stock podcast from Newstalk which was broadcast from Croke Park.

The European Commission has published its 2023 Work Programme: ‘A Union standing firm and united.’ The programme details the Commission’s agenda to respond to the current set of crises affecting the everyday lives of Europeans, while doubling down on the ongoing green and digital transformations, making our European Union more resilient. Ibec has developed a slide deck capturing the key issues for Irish business, which you can find attached. 

Finally this week, I was delighted to deliver the 46th Countess Markievicz Memorial Lecture, entitled "Collectivism in Our Intangible Asset World”.  Many thanks to the Irish Association for Industrial Relations for their invitation. 

As always if you have any queries, please get in touch. It is always good to hear from you. 

Enjoy your weekends.

Danny McCoy