People are a key resource for any business and retaining skilled staff and rewarding long-term loyalty are top priorities for many companies.

An increasingly popular option for many privately-owned firms who want to motivate and retain staff is to introduce an Employee Share Incentive scheme. Recent research shows that companies with some element of employee ownership do have a better level of employee engagement and are more resilient when times are tough. There is also evidence that such companies outperform their peers.

Perhaps one of the best known schemes currently available is the HMRC approved Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) Share Option Scheme. This allows employees to have the option to acquire shares at a price fixed at the outset of the scheme, even though they may not wish to buy them until a later date.

Key advantages include the fact that no money is required to buy shares up front and the purchase price of the shares remains fixed at the price they were when the employee joined the scheme. Although EMI may be the most popular, there are a number of other approved share schemes available to help you attract and retain talent and the most important are the Share Incentive Plan, Company Share Option Plan and Employee Shareholder arrangement.

Our team of tax specialists have many years’ experience of introducing share schemes to companies and will advise you on the best option for your business.

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