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An IHF survey spotlights the “seismic effect” of new Government policies. 

Rising labour costs, the extension of debt warehousing scheme and the increased VAT rate of 13.5 per cent are among the “grave concerns” highlighted in a survey of Irish Hairdressing Federation members.

The research follows recently introduced government policy measures, which IHF president, Lisa Eccles, said has had a “seismic effect on many people’s businesses’ bottom lines”.

“Many members are gravely concerned as to the impact this 1 January legislation has had on cash flow for purchases and wages. Many members are fearful of their future and face having to let staff go or close up completely.”

The biggest burden highlighted in the survey is the newly introduced legislation, chiefly the increasing entitlement to paid sick leave for employees. In the past two years, five additional paid sick days have been added.

The VAT rate of 13.5 per cent – up from nine per cent in September 2023 – continues to cause upset, and the IHF has appealed to government to return it to its lower rate in order for businesses to continue trading. Increased energy costs and a variety of rising product costs that narrow profit margins were also causes for concern. The survey also highlighted members’ commitment to avoiding price increases for its clientele, who are also impacted by the cost of living. 

Examples cited by the IHF – which represents more than 500 salon owners nationwide – included one member with 10 staff in her salon, who was now facing an extra 50 paid sick leave days annually. She would need to find additional staff to cover those days on top of the additional sick leave costs.

Many members also stated how the stress of these policy changes had affected their mental health. “Government needs to urgently take into account the untold stress and trauma they are putting small business owners under,” said Lisa Eccles. “As independent salon owners these increased burdened measures are deeply affecting their mental health”.

Eccles requested an urgent meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Government Ministers Michael McGrath TD, Simon Coveney TD, and Neale Richmond TD to highlight the impact of this and future legislation is having.