THE amount of time small firms are waiting to get paid increased in the last quarter despite there being more attention than ever on the subject, a leading trade firm warned yesterday.
According to ISME, its members waited an average of 71 days to be paid between October and December, up from 69 days in the previous quarter.
Some 40pc of firms have waited three months for payment, while 14pc of those surveyed said they have had to wait four months.
ISME boss Mark Fielding said: "The government needs to take a much stronger hand in the issue of late payments and introduce a strict statutory 30 day payment regime for all businesses operating in Ireland, to be phased in over three years."
Mr Fielding launched the latest credit watch survey at a European Union meeting on late payments in Dublin.
Antti Peltomaki of the EU's Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General, said a new EU directive on late payments would provide additional liquidity worth €180bn to SMEs across Europe.
The directive gives SMEs a legal right to interest if they are not paid within 30 days.
According to EU data, Irish businesses lost nearly 3pc in turnover in 2012 because they hadn't been paid on time.