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.

The labour market in Ireland is now more an employees' market than employers', according to a survey out this week by Hayes Recruitment. 

The survey also revealed that 51% of the employees who responded wanted to move jobs, which could be seen as surprising but with such an educated workforce in Ireland, this could also be viewed as people pressing to move up in their fields. Bobby says this is a reality of the marketplace today. 

58% of those surveyed said they were unhappy with their salaries and 42% believed their work-life balance wasn't good. Interestingly, on the recruiter side, only 12% thought work-life balance was important. 

Now, onto your employment-related questions... 

- Revenue is doing an audit on me. They say I claimed too much for diesel last year and I've lost all of my receipts. What can I do? I'm a sole trader block layer. 

Bobby says that in this case he needs to level with them, go to meet someone in Revenue and provide evidence of what he's doing this year in terms of diesel as a comparison. This should result in some form of a middle ground being agreed. 

- Is it legal to do a week of nights (11pm-7am) with one single night off for the two weeks before it? I do receive a shift allowance. 

Bobby says he checked this one out on and this is what he found - after a five day working week, you may not work for a consecutive 36 hours. A longer working week is possible once you have a rest period of at least 72 hours every 14 days. The 72 hours in this incident can be split as well. 

- We're currently expanding our office here in Cork and I want to know if there is any way to pick up computers and office equipment second hand as it will only be a temporary arrangement?

Bobby says anyone considering buying their business's computers second hand should be careful and do their research. While there are lots of options out there, like, they don't work out significantly cheaper in Bobby's experience. 

- Should every work place have a social media set of regulations? I run a fast food business in Dublin and I want to address one employee's behaviour and language on social media as I think it reflects badly on us. 

Bobby says he read an article on social media in the workplace recently, by Triona Cody and she says employers need to be careful accessing a candidate's social media accounts as any data obtained is subject to data protection rules. 

As an employer, Bobby says you should have a clear social media policy and be able to tell your employees what is acceptable and what isn't. So if this person's behaviour outside of work is causing damage to the business's reputation then by all means, this business owner should tackle this employee on it. 

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

If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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