SME Agony Uncle: Bobby Kerr answers all your business and work-related questions


Each week broadcaster, entrepreneur and agony uncle Bobby Kerr joins The Hard Shoulder to answer all your employment-related questions.

Yesterday, the first Monday in February, was National Sickie Day.It is traditionally the day of the year when the greatest amount of employees take time off work due to illness.  

Ivan believes that the level of absenteeism is directly a result of the sick pay scheme and reckons that if people weren't paid for sick days, they wouldn't pull sickies so often. Bobby's also on the same page as Ivan with this one. 

I work in retail and we have a staff bathroom out the back that we all share. It's unisex. We're all afraid to tell our boss about the state he leaves the toilet in. We don't mind if he does it at home but he has no sense of sharing with others clearly. Any advice? 

I'd start with subtlety - maybe a sign goes up and let your boss know by stealth that you know who it is. I think you need to be careful here though, you don't want this to rebound badly. Maybe somebody puts up a sign and someone else sends an email about how you must all improve the maintenance and hygiene in the toilet but there is no sense in tackling this guy front on because it'll only end badly. 

I'm currently a sole trader and have been since 2009. I have six employees and am getting very busy now with some nice projects coming up. Should I go Limited or not?

Given the information that he's given us - turnover is increasing - I think it's wise to separate your personal liabilities from your business liabilities. Particularly if his turnover has built up, it would be easier to deal with banks, the Revenue will know who he is and the Limited liability ring fences the situation if things were to go pear shaped. Shares can be divided as desired by the business owner/owners. 

I work in customer service for a company for the last four years and three years in another company before that. I speak fluent German and do my job efficiently. My role currently involves processing orders and speaking with salespeople in the German region. I'm also responsible for chasing unpaid invoices and I've been very effective. My first question is what do you think my salary should be? I am based in Shannon, Co. Clare (as I know location would have a bearing on this). My second question is that I have been looking for a promotion to move up the ranks but I am finding it impossible to be successful at interviews. Where can I go from here? I've thought about going back to college but I am married with two children and both myself and my husband work full time. 

 First of all, I don't know what the salary should be. I think it's an individual thing so I'm not going to suggest a salary but I will suggest other things... She's been for 13 interviews over two years so that's one every eight weeks. She says she's not getting feedback but still keeps applying for other jobs.

While she works in Customer Service, she says she applied for a job as a planning analyst so I just wonder is she applying for the right jobs within the company. It just seems to be a waste of everyone's time if she is putting herself forward for jobs, being interviewed and nobody is giving any feedback but she's not being selected. I think maybe it might be time she started looking elsewhere and finding something she really enjoys and start focusing in on that.   

You can listen back to all of Bobby’s employment advice from Tuesday’s The Hard Shoulder here:

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