Employment Rights Bill holds opportunity for Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) sector – view of Small Business Association’s CEO

THE EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS BILL now seeing its way through the island’s Houses of Parliament provides tremendous opportunity for the island’s small firms,” so says the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association, Lynette Holder, who has however suggested that in the initial phases, it can be a bit unwieldy for the sector.

Despite this, she pointed out that the association has already started to assist members with their preparations in anticipation of the legislation being passed.

“We have already gone ahead and put in place those kinds of tools and systems that our members and small firms will need to ensure that they can adhere to the legislation. We believe that beyond the administrative challenges to small firms, here is an opportunity now for our businesses to comply with the law,” Holder said.

We too recognized that it would have been a bit of a challenge for our micro and small enterprises to deal with all theBack Officeadministrative work which the legislation brings. So, in March this year, we created our Performance Management System SME toolkit and put it out there for our membership, initially piloting it among 15 of our members at first to see what was the best way we could help them, not only understand the legislation, but put the measure in place where they could easily comply,” the SBA boss explained, dismissing earlier suggestion from a government senator that the Association was “pointing out problems” as opposed to “looking for the solution”.

The SBA seeks to expand business opportunities for its members, provide educational and developmental services and lobby to ensure an enabling environment for the growth and sustainability of the SME sector. For more information on the work of the Small Business Association, please visit | http://www.sba.org.bb

Holder noted that the toolkit was a guide for SME’s as it contained documents including a copy of the legislation itself, information about registering a business, financial statement templates and other templates including contracts and memo templates.

Beyond being a part of the many consultations within the Barbados Private Sector Association, the SBA in July 2011 held a members’ meeting to review the document [the Employment Rights Bill] with the membership, to educate members about what was contained in it and to make recommendations on their behalf for whatever changes were needed.

This all falls within our mandate as Barbados’ non-governmental, non-profit representative body for micro, small and medium enterprises; to help find ways of expanding business opportunities for our membership, as well as to provide the educational and developmental services needed for them to advance,” she explained.

And we have been since our formation almost 20 years ago, doing that, in addition to ensuring that we lobby all stakeholders to ensure that they have an enabling environment for they growth and sustainability;

We believe that beyond the administrative challenges to small firms, here is an opportunity now for our businesses to comply with the law,” Holder said.

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