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Library of Knowledge

National Workplace Wellbeing Day

26/04/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 80

Ireland’s National Workplace Wellbeing Day is today Friday April 26th 2024.

Now in its tenth year, the day itself has served to raise the importance of employee wellbeing across a wide variety of industries since its inception.

Organisations are encouraged to recognise and celebrate the day in a way that best supports their colleagues while at the same time ensuring they do not fall into the trap of celebrating wellbeing on only one day of the year and merely using the day as a PR exercise!

A wellbeing intervention could be an initiative, but it doesn’t have to be something that takes up time, in fact it can be something that actually gives some time back.

Here are some suggestions:

Live Event: Our 5K Walk & Talk in Dublin on the morning of April 26th and in Galway. Ready made team building exercises!

Financial Wellbeing: All the financial wellbeing resources you need for your colleagues in one place

Live Workshop: ‘The 5 Ways to Wellbeing’ is an online or onsite interactive workshop designed to introduce attendees to an internationally recognised and practical framework for supporting positive mental wellbeing.

Signpost: Share information about your EAP programme (if you have one) and any other wellbeing resources your colleagues have access to.

Podcast: Busting meditation and mindfulness myths with Dermot Whelan.

Book: The Vitality Mark from lifestyle medicine practitioner Dr. Mark Rowe

Webinar: Using the Breath to Activate Your Brain for Success with Patrick McKeown

Online sessions: Well Place

Take care and have a good weekend

The Right to Request Remote Working

19/04/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 79

Since 7 March 2024, all employees have a new legal right to request remote working.

A request can be made from the first day in a new job, but 6 months of continuous service must be completed before the arrangement can start.

What is remote working?

Remote working is an arrangement where instead of going to the employer’s workplace,  some or all work is completed from another location. Hours and duties will remain the same as if physically at the workplace

Code of practice on remote working:

The law on the right to request remote working is set out in Part 3 of the: https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2023/act/8/enacted/en/html

For full practical guidance for employers and employees on how to make and handle requests for remote working, you can read The Workplace Relations Commission’s (WRC); https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/codes_practice/code-of-practice-for-employers-and-employees-right-to-request-flexible-working-and-right-to-request-remote-working/request flexible working and right to request remote working.html

Supports for employers

If you are an employer, you can use the templates in Section 3 of the WRC Code of Practice to develop:

  • A Work-Life Balance Policy
  • An application form for remote working requests

Who has the right to request remote working?

All employees have the right to request remote working.

Making a request for remote working:

When making a remote working request the employee must:

  • Submit it as soon as reasonably practicable, but at least 8 weeks before the proposed start.
  • Provide a written request or use an online application form.
  • Outline details of the remote working arrangement, such as how many days and which days you are requesting.
  • Set out your reasons for requesting remote working.
  • Set out the proposed start date and duration of the arrangement.
  • Detail the proposed remote location, such as at home or a work hub.

Give information on the suitability of the proposed remote working location, for example the workstation is suitably equipped and meets health and safety requirements see page 16 of the:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/codes_practice/code-of-practice-for-employers-and-employees-right-to-request-flexible-working-and-right-to-request-remote-working/code-of-practice-for-employers-and-employees.pdf

If we can be of any assistance with you HR compliance, please feel free to reach out.

Take care.

UK State Pension Top Up Opportunity.

12/04/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 78

To qualify for a full UK state pension, you must have paid National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for at least 35 years.

You could qualify for a partial UK state pension, if you paid National Insurance Contribution for less than 35 years but more than 10 years.

If you have gaps in your National Insurance Record (NIR) you can buy back these years to be eligible for a full or partial UK state pension.

It is important to note that this is a once off opportunity which will expire after the 5th April 2025. (After this date the buyback contributions will be restricted from April 2016 only).

‘Buy Back’ refers to making a voluntary contribution for any years that you were not working in the UK.

Voluntary NCIs can be paid to make up for any gaps identified, with the weekly rates being maintained at £ 15.85/£ 824.30 per annum for class 3 (most likely option for employees) or a weekly rate of £ 3.15/£163.80 per annum for class 2 NICs (the class 2 rate is only available to employees if their NIC gap relates to working overseas).

Whilst this opportunity appears to be good value for money, we recommend you review your National Insurance Record and current State Pension forecast with HMRC on www.gov.uk first to see if you are eligible to buy back years or if you are already forecast to receive a full State Pension.

Kindly note: The UK Pension from April ’24 is £ 221.20 per week (full).

How do I apply to buy back years?

In order to avail of the option to buy back years, you will need to complete the Application to pay National Insurance Contributions abroad form: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1102905/CF83.pdf and return this to HMRC directly. All details are available on http://www.gov.uk/ and the return address is outlined on the application form.

Take Care

Increased Cost of Business Grant (ICOB) 2024

05/04/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 77

Increased Cost of Business Grant           

Important: Closing Date 1st May 2024.

Don’t miss out on this once off grant payment due to eligible businesses. The submissions opened this week, and the closing date is 1st May 2024.

The grant is based on the value of the Commercial Rates bill received by an eligible business in 2023. The grant is as follows:

  • For qualifying businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rate bill of <€10,000, the ICOB grant will be paid at a rate of 50% of the business’s Commercial Rate bill for 2023.
  • For qualifying businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rate bill of between €10,000 and €30,000, the ICOB grant will be €5,000.
  • Businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rates bill greater than €30,000 are not eligible to receive an ICOB grant.

The grant scheme has been set up in this way so as to ensure that the scheme is accessible to smaller businesses. Eligibility for the grant will be assessed on the basis of a firm satisfying a minimum of the below conditions:

  • the business is a commercially trading business operating directly within a premises that is commercially rateable by a Local Authority
  • the business has provided confirmation of its bank details to the respective Local Authority.
  • the business is rates compliant, including those businesses with a phased payment arrangement in-place.
  • the business is tax compliant, and in possession of a valid Tax Registration Number.

Local Authorities will begin paying out the grant to businesses in the coming weeks.

To apply see: https://www.mycoco.ie/icob

Changes to State Pensions

21/03/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 76

Changes have been introduced to the State Pension (Contributory) and from January 2024 individuals reaching the age of 66 are now required to make a decision:

  • Start receiving their State Pension Benefits and no longer pay PRSI.
  • Defer receiving their State Pension Benefit and continue to pay PRSI, up to a maximum age of 70.

By deferring a higher pension will be paid through additional contributions or an increase in the maximum pension receivable.

There is also improved access to State Pension Provisions for Long-Term Carers. If an individual has spent more than 20 years providing full-time care to an incapacitated person, they may be entitled to state pension provision.

From January 2025 there will be a 10-year phased removal of the Yearly Average Method, which means that all pensions will be calculated using only the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) by 2034.

These changes mean that it is essential that you are aware of how many contributions you have accrued before retirement and what they mean to you. You can request a statement of your contributions at www.mywelfare.ie using your MyGovID.

Further information available at: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/90d8b-changes-to-the-state-pension-contributory-what-you-need-to-know/

Or for individual pension advice talk to Life Planning http://www.lifeplanning.ie

Take Care

Celebrating International Women’s Day

08/03/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 75

Today is a day to celebrate every Irish woman, at home or in business. Acknowledge and celebrate our strength, resilience and success!

There are many associations in Ireland that support women in business, below see our top six:

Women Mean Business:

https://www.womenmeanbusiness.com/

Enterprise Ireland, Women in Business:

https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/supports/women-in-business

Network Ireland:

https://networkireland.ie/

Chambers Ireland:

https://chambers.ie/

Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment:

https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/what-we-do/the-business-environment/entrepreneurship-/female-entrepreneurship/

The Irish Women In Business Network:

http://irishwomeninbusinessnetwork.ie/

Take care and have a super weekend.

Mortgage Interest Credit 2023

23/02/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 74

A welcome tax credit has been introduced on Mortgage Interest (where the interest increased from 2022 to 2023) and is available for taxpayers where:

  • The property is the principal residence.
  • The mortgage balance was between € 80,000 and € 500,000 at 31 December 2022.
  • The qualifying loan remained in place in 2022 and 2023
  • The interest on the qualifying loan increased from 2022 to 2023.

The amount qualifying for relief is capped at € 6,250 at the rate of 20%, based on the interest increase between 2022 + 2023.

Important Note:

The Mortgage Interest Tax credit is only available for the year 2023 and claimable via your 2023 income tax return. 

It is also only available where the individual/jointly assessed couple have an actual tax liability.

Additional properties allowable:

The principal private residence of a dependent relative.

                                                or

The residence of a spouse which they used to attend their employment.

Our annual income tax questionnaire for our income tax clients will include all necessary questions to ensure the credit is claimed wherever possible.

Please expect to receive your questionnaire in the coming month.

For further details see: https://www.revenue.ie/en/personal-tax-credits-reliefs-and-exemptions/mortgage/index.aspx

Revenue Debt Warehousing Scheme (COVID) – Interest 0%

16/02/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 73

On 5th February 2024 Revenue announced some good news for business’ still working their way through the impact of COVID.

The COVID debt warehouse scheme allowed business’ to pause payments of Revenue liabilities for VAT, PAYE, Income Tax, TWSS and EWSS from 2020 through to 2021 (peak COVID period).

Phase 3 (Period 3) of the Revenue COVID warehouse scheme requires that all liabilities are paid in full by 1st May 2024 or an agreed Revenue instalment arrangement with an interest rate of 3%.

The two options remain the same, however the interest rate is now reduced to 0%.

Revenue have confirmed a refund of interest charged for any business’ who have already entered into an agreement at 3%.

It is important to note that the deadline of 1st May 2024 remains unchanged to complete an instalment arrangement.

Note: To ensure the instalment arrangement stays in force, all current returns and liabilities must be lodged and paid by due dates.

For any business who requires any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

For further details see: https://www.revenue.ie/en/starting-a-business/paying-your-tax/debt-warehousing/amendments.aspx

Take care and have a good weekend.

Strategic Consultancy Grant from Enterprise Ireland

09/02/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 72

In challenging times, strategy is more important than ever. A strategy consultant can provide your business with unbiased insights to help you adapt to change, unearth new opportunities and develop a competitive advantage. 

The Enterprise Ireland ‘Strategic Consultancy Grant’ can support the cost of hiring a strategic consultant to help with the development and/or implementation of strategic initiatives.  

There are two types of grants available: 

Strategic Consultancy Grant  

For SMEs & Large companies   Up to 50% of the costs incurred in hiring a consultant to a maximum grant amount of €35,000.  

Strategic Consultancy Grant – Short Projects  

For HPSUs, SME & Large companies 

Projects of 3-10 days duration 

Up to 80% of the costs incurred in hiring a consultant to a maximum grant amount of €7,200 

Companies can avail of a maximum of three projects, addressing separate business challenges in any 12-month rolling period. 

For further details see:

https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/supports/strategic-consultancy-assignment

Take care

The Big Switch for Business

26/01/2024

Library of Knowledge No. 71

Switching energy providers annually can offer several benefits to your business, the most important from a financial aspect is the significant cost saving factor.

It also enables your business to stay competitive in the marketplace.

By reviewing your energy contract annually, you can take advantage of new tariffs or promotions in the market, optimizing your energy savings.

The offers available also allow you to explore renewable energy options, aligning with sustainability goals and reducing the carbon footprint of your business.

Overall, annual switching empowers businesses to make informed decisions, drive down costs, and contribute to a greener future.

This energy review can be completed in house, however, there are also professional companies readily available to complete this service on your behalf.  Examples of the can be found below:

https://www.utilityfair.ie/

https://cost.ie/

Take care

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