‘Outsourcing the management of social protections to the private sector’: Why SMEs are weighing up the cost of new employee benefits

As large firms introduce better employee benefits and the state continues to legislate for increased rights for workers, can SMEs cope with the cost of meeting these new standards?

Tom Byrne with his children Darragh, 4, Anna, 3, and Róisín, 7 months: Tom took three months’ leave from his job at Vodafone Ireland to help at home when Róisín was born. Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan

When Róisín Byrne was born seven months ago, her father Tom got to spend 16 full weeks with her. As Vodafone Ireland’s head of finance operations and margin assurance, he took advantage of a benefit introduced by the communications giant in 2019 that grants three months of parental leave to fathers, or non-birthing partners.

“It was amazing, really. We have three children under four, so it is pretty manic. You are trying to deal with ...