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Latest News


For most, figuring out parenting and your career is difficult. It can be even more so if you are an LGBT parent. Peter Keenan-Gavaghan explains how the support from his organisation enabled him and his husband to make the leap into parenthood while growing his career. Balancing a career and a family is always a juggling act. However, when your family does not fit the traditional model, it can also prove to be a minefield for all concerned, especially at work. Societal expectations of parental roles, parental names and second glances are only a few of the factors that need to be thought about before LGBT people become parents. Despite having made the decision to have children early in our relationship, it took my husband and I eight years before our son arrived into the world. With both of us being working professionals, the process of family planning started in the traditional way: how do we balance parenthood, careers and our relationship? We quickly realised that we also needed to consider society. In the end, some of it came down to practicalities, and some came down to our own values, preferences and external supports.  Parental leave One area we had to consider was managing early childcare. My firm gives enhanced paid parental leave regardless of gender and this played a big part in our decision that I would be the stay at home dad for the first seven months of our son's life, with my husband returning to work on a reduced work week. Without the seven-month paid parental leave from my firm, our family would be much different position starting out – and certainly disadvantaged compared to mums going on leave. It’s important that not only the people in an organisation are supportive to LGBT families, but that the support is reflected in the HR policies and procedures. Creating a network We always knew we would need to navigate the potential assumptions from colleagues and clients that there is a ‘mum’ at home. We quickly realised that if social assumptions were to change, we needed to be proud of our family, and not place each other back in the closet. Having same-sex parents is nothing new in Barclays. Indeed, when we were investigating how we would become parents, one of the first ports of call was Barclays LGBT network, Spectrum. There we got a greater understanding of fostering, adoption and surrogacy. The network also holds regular talks on ‘non-traditional' parenting to educate colleagues on how they can become parents and continue to build their career. While nothing would have stopped my husband and me from having our son, the information and support gained from the LGBT network in my organisation eased the process for us (as much as to-be parents can be eased when planning for their first) and normalises families like ours to colleagues and clients. Before going on paternity leave, my team did the traditional baby gift presentation and I was invited to expectant parents’ events. This not only showed support but also demonstrated inclusivity. Talent retention What I have found since going back to work is that I have become more focused and flexible. Because Barclays gave me the information on parental leave, the precious first months with my son, and the flexibility to alter my working hours to the typical parent’s life without judgements or assumptions, they have retained a committed employee and have helped create a happy family. Peter Keenan-Gavaghan is Vice President of Barclays Internal Audit – RFT & Functions Technology.

Jun 22, 2020
Press release

The group representing Irish accountancy bodies has called on the government to introduce emergency measures for the SME sector in Budget 2021 to help them withstand the impact of Covid-19 in the coming months. The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies -Ireland (CCAB-I) launched its 2021 Pre-Budget Submission to Government today.  Concessions in terms of how the Government will tax Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme payments and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are urgently required. For example, if an employee receives €350 per week under the TWSS, this amounts to €7,700 over 22 weeks and is a substantial amount of untaxed income for a worker to deal with at the end of the year. Tax due on these payments should be spread over four years or more to avoid a significant drop in the worker’s take home pay.  The Submission acknowledges the unprecedented supports provided to date, however, warns that in the absence of further extraordinary supports, many SMEs in Ireland cannot survive. Measures proposed in the Submission cover tax supports for self-employed individuals, measures to support SME recovery and tax rule reforms to reflect modern work practices.  Anticipating that many self-employed individuals will not be in a position to pay their income tax liability due in November this year, the Submission proposes the write-down of the first €10,000 of the balance of the 2019 tax liability of self-employed individuals on a targeted basis for those in financial difficulty as a highly effective means of support.  With an eye to supporting entrepreneurship and incentivising investment, among the measures the Submission also proposes are the implementation of the recommendations of the Indecon Report on the Revised Entrepreneur Relief; the tailoring of R&D tax credits to facilitate the economic recovery of the SME sector; the introduction of a digital tax credit for SMEs; and the refining of the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme (EIIS) rules to generate much needed equity funding for SMEs operating in difficult economic circumstances. Commenting Norah Collender, Professional Tax Lead, Chartered Accountants Ireland said, “When we talk about small businesses, we mean local retailers, manufacturers, hospitality, and service providers. They are reeling from the economic impact of COVID-19and face liquidity pressures which could result in business closures without Government support. The tax system is a powerful means of getting supports to SMEs, which in turn always respond positively with increased economic activity. “The Programme for Government talks about many tax initiatives to help small business which it must follow through on as soon as possible along with extending emergency tax measures introduced by Revenue.  Small businesses need to know where they stand so a practical way of doing this is for Revenue to confirm that its emergency tax measures will remain in place for the rest of 2020.    “It’s natural for any Government faced with a deficit to consider cutting back tax supports but such a move will mean the end for many businesses.  SMEs account for over 1 million employees, or 68.4% of total employment in the Irish business economy and economic recovery is simply impossible if these businesses don’t get the tax supports they need.” 

Jul 13, 2020
Press release

Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a set of new measures to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy. Alan Gourley, Chair of NI Tax Committee, Chartered Accountants Ireland gave his initial reaction, commenting “The key measures announced in the Summer Statement today are designed to encourage consumers to get back out spending and to have the confidence to enjoy a meal out, buy a home and return workers to regular employment. “Today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the economy in Northern Ireland.  We have the same Stamp Duty Land Tax system as England so Northern Ireland will benefit from the increase from £125,000 to £500,0000 of the zero-rate threshold, a saving of £2,500 on a home costing £250,000. “This zero-rate threshold in addition to measures like the reduced 5% VAT rate for hospitality services, the innovative “eat out to help out scheme” and the jobs retention bonus are all time bound incentives due to expire early next year at the latest. This will hopefully encourage consumers to have the confidence and the money to resume spending in 2020. This can only be a good thing as local businesses in Northern Ireland really need consumer support to get back on track.  “These incentives, combined with a sensible approach to social distancing will help as the economy tries to navigate the post-COVID-19 recovery.” Highlights include:  Jobs retention bonus will be paid to employers from 1/11/2020 to 31/1/21 - £1k bonus per furloughed employee who is returned to work - employee must be paid at least £520 per month on average between Nov 2020 and Jan 2021.  Payments will be made from February 2021. Stamp duty land tax on residential properties – 0% threshold will be raised to £500,000 (currently £125,000) until 31/3/2020 – effective from today for England and NI. VAT on hospitality – food (eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs),  accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites) and attractions (cinemas, theme parks and zoos) cut from 20% to 5% from next Wednesday until 12 January 2021. For month of August – “eat out to help out” discount - meals eaten at any participating business, from Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children. Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a website, open next Monday. Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days.  

Jul 08, 2020