‘Costs Cost Costs’ What we are doing about them?

February 13, 2024

This week marks the start of the SFA’s pre-election cross-party lobbying campaign to ensure that the needs of the small business community will be front and centre of whomever makes up the next government.

That said, we are also acutely aware that for some of you the existing cost pressures that you are facing mean something needs to be done by the existing government before it is too late. In our upcoming meetings with political stakeholders, we will highlight the growing concern at the scale and pace of employment cost increases and demand a decisive government response. During our engagements, we will call for the following actions:

  • A pause on all further labour market policy measures which add to employment costs
  • The immediate publication of a report on the cost implications of the current labour market reforms
  • A new strategy that puts a cap on government-initiated employment cost increases into the future
  • A major, targeted business support package to help businesses manage cost increases over the next three years.

As some of you may know, the SFA was asked to convey the small business community’s concerns into the Department of Enterprise report on the cumulative cost implications of the current labour market reforms. We have been informed this report is now finished and will go to a Cabinet sub-committee this week, with a view to it going before Cabinet and being published soon after. It will include details on the potential implication employment measures will have for the businesses most affected.

Once published, we believe this will prompt a review of what new measures may be required to support vulnerable but viable businesses into the future. One solution the SFA will be proposing is a PRSI rebate that could be used to effectively target resources at those businesses most exposed to employment cost increases.

Alignment of Industry Efforts: In a pivotal assembly last Wednesday, Ibec hosted a collaborative forum of over 30 key business advocacy groups to synchronize our efforts and communications concerning labour market costs. Of course, there were some varying priorities but there was general agreement across almost all groups on the scale of the problem and the need for additional government measures to address business concerns.

The discussion initially focused on the three key asks set out in a recent Ibec letter to the Taoiseach, including the need for a full impact assessment of ongoing reforms, a pause on new measures and a major new business support package.

To know more, contact SFA Director, David Broderick.