Seldia Newsletter January 2013

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January 2013
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Commissioner Reding confirmed as keynote speaker – Registration now open

EU Commission Vice-President Vivian Reding will open the Women Entrepreneurship exhibition organised by Seldia. The European Parliament exhibition will take place from 19 to 21 February 2013 and will be held in partnership with over 22 organisations including two universities, the Irish EU Council Presidency, the EU Parliament’s SME Intergroup, the WfDSA and many more. The aim of the exhibition is to promote women business start-ups and the need to tackle remaining barriers. Seldia will exhibit best practices in the direct selling sector, which employs 4.5 million direct sellers in the EU, 85% of whom are women. 

To register or for more information visit the event’s website at www.women-entrepreneurs2013.eu

MEPs pledge their support

A Seldia delegation travelled to the Strasbourg European Parliament plenary session from 15-17 January where two dozen meetings were scheduled with Members of the EU Parliament to discuss both the Women Entrepreneurs Exhibition as well as Seldia’s role and that of direct selling in providing genuine entrepreneurial opportunities. MEP’s were very interested and many committed to participating at the exhibition’s various side events. As always, the Strasbourg lobbying efforts were not shy of unexpected encounters, when Seldia met several friends of the industry. 

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Industry News

UK Court clarifies self-employment status

At the end of 2012, the UK Court of Appeal made an important ruling on when someone can be considered ‘self-employed’ as opposed to ‘employed’.  Although the ruling does not involve direct selling, it contains several elements that would also apply to our sector, moreover in a positive manner.

The case involved an independent entertainer working in a restaurant.  The entertainer performed acts in the restaurant and was paid by contributions of clients.  The Court stated that the alleged employer – the restaurant – was under no obligation to pay anything at all to the entertainer and that it was not in any way bound to make payment that could constitute wages.

The Court of Appeal place particular emphasis on the fact that the entertainer bore economic risk, in that she was required to make various fixed payments to the restaurant in order to be allowed to perform there and so receive payments from clients, going so far as to say “it would, I think, be an unusual case where a contract of service is found to exist when the worker takes the economic risk and is paid exclusively by third parties”.

According to legal counsel Lawrence Graham LLP, this statement is helpful to direct selling organisations, as is the emphasis placed by the Court of Appeal on the fact that the contract involves the individual accepting her self-employed status and paying her own tax.  The Court stated that it is legitimate for a court to have regard to the way in which the parties have chosen to categorise the relationship and in a case where the position is uncertain, this can be decisive.

It must, therefore, remain the case that contracts with self-employed distributors should state clearly that the individual is not an employee, and is responsible for their own tax affairs, and to avoid terms such as sick pay and working hours which are consistent with employment status, and avoid placing high levels of control on the individuals’ activities.
The courts are happy to accept that an individual who is party to a self-employed contract will owe a number of contractual duties to the other party and the level of control exercised remains key.

A self-employed person is free to dictate their own working hours, and the level of work undertaken to generate commission or other payment, according to Lawrence Graham LLP.

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EU AT A GLANCE

Irish EU Presidency Kicks-off

The Irish EU Council Presidencies’ priorities for the next six months will focus on “Creating jobs and tackling the crisis in Europe”. The Taoiseach (Prime minister) Enda Kenny presented his country’s plans in the European Parliament on 16 January. Most European Parliament group leaders agreed that Ireland would be able to capitalise on its own experience of tackling the crisis to bring about change in Europe. Mr Kenny said that unemployment, particularly among young people, needs to be urgently tackled. He also singled out establishing banking union for the eurozone and reaching an agreement on the long-term EU budget as important priorities, citing Parliament as “an important partner”. In addition the Taoiseach said the launch of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the United States would be a priority.


Furthermore, the Irish ministers now in charge of the various Council configurations, will this week (21-23 Jannuary) present to Members of the European Parliament their plans on how to achieve progress on stability, growth and jobs during the Irish Presidency. Ahead of these presentations, EU Affairs Minister Ms. Lucinda Creighton said, “the recent crisis has shown that the people of Europe first saw the Union as part of the problem, but now they want to see it more as part of the solution. The Irish Presidency’s focus is on solutions for growth and jobs, but people also need to feel more connected, involved, engaged, informed and listened to. As we take the next steps down the road of closer financial and economic integration, we need a serious debate about how to ensure their voices are truly heard.”

Ministers will also take the opportunity to consider prospects for the further enlargement of the European Union. Representatives of the five current candidate countries (Iceland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) have also been invited and on Monday 21st January Minister Creighton will host a working lunch to allow for an exchange of views on current enlargement issues.

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EU Commission publishes Entrepreneurship Action Plan

On 9 January 2013, the European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani presented the EC’s action plan to support entrepreneurs and revolutionise entrepreneurial culture in Europe. The plan stresses the key role of education and training to nurture new generations of entrepreneurs, and includes specific measures to help budding entrepreneurs among young people, women, seniors, migrants, and the unemployed. The high level of EU unemployment leaves untapped human resources, especially amongst women and young people. The plan also tackles obstacles to entrepreneurship such as ambitious measures to facilitate start-ups and new businesses, make transfers of business ownership more successful, improve access to finance, and give honest entrepreneurs a second chance after bankruptcy.Tajani said:”To make it very clear: more entrepreneurs mean more jobs, more innovation and more competitiveness. Entrepreneurs are the heroes of our time. Entrepreneurship is also the most powerful driver of economic growth in economic history. Therefore, we want to make entrepreneurship an attractive and accessible prospect for European citizens. This is the key message of our action plan. If we can unleash Europe’s entrepreneurial potential, we can bring back growth to Europe.”

For the Entrepreneurship Action Plan click here
For an overview of the measures click here

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EU Parliament publishes draft report on Data Protection
On 16 January 2013, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the proposed Data Protection Regulation, MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, published his draft report. The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee of the European Parliament is the first out of several committees to publish a draft report. Stakeholders now have until until 27 February to call for amendments. Members of Parliament will until this date to submit amendments to Mr. Albrecht’s report. While the Internal Market committee is expected to vote on its own draft opinion at the end of January, the LIBE committee will have its important first vote on the report on 24/25 April.  

The LIBE committees’ draft report can be found here

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OECD and EU Policy Brief on Senior Entrepreneurs
On 16 January 2013, the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a joint policy brief on senior entrepreneurship. The document sets out potential courses of action to the encourage senior citizens to become entrepreneurs. The policy brief warns that Europe’s increasingly aging population  is likely to pose economic and social challenges for society. The economic potential of benefiting of this pool of experience however is vast. In order to reap this potential, policy makers need to roll out promotional activities, provide hands-on tools and guidance and remove obstacles in taxation and social contribution schemes. 

To read the Policy Brief on Senior Entrepreneurship by the European Commission and the OECD, please click here

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EU Online rights
On December 17 2012, the Commission published the Code of EU online rights which compiles the rights and principles under EU legislation that protect citizens when going online. This Code was published as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe actions, the EU strategy designed to boost digital economy.

The aim of the Code is to increase EU citizens’ awareness of their digital rights by granting them an easy access to simple explanations of these rights. This Code does not create new rights.

For more information please click here

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EVENTS

Seldia Committee Meetings
30 January NON-EU DSA’s Committee
31 January Companies’ & Legal and Government Affairs committees

Female Entrepreneurship EU Exhibition (Seldia)
19-21 February, European Parliament, Brussels, www.women-entrepreneurs2013.eu 
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Troy Dooly is recognized internationally as an influencer in the areas of personal branding, leadership development, marketing campaigns, organizational expansion, and corporate launch strategies. Dooly is a speaker, results coach, and radio host. He is a founding member, show host (Beachside CEO) and News Director of the Home Business Radio Network. He is a founding member, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals