Employees to benefit from share-option scheme

More
employees will be able to enjoy benefits from share-option schemes when
companies introduce a Government plan to encourage employee share ownership,
research reveals.

Two
thirds of FTSE 350 companies are considering adopting the All-employee Share
Ownership Plan (Aesop) which could give staff significant tax breaks and of
these nearly half intend to offer employees the chance to buy partnership
shares, the study by consultants New Bridge Street shows.

The
Aesop allows employers to allocate free shares to employees, offer employees
the chance to buy partnership shares out of pre-tax pay and match the
employee’s investment by the allocation of up to two extra matching shares for
each partnership share purchased.

The
tax break only applies if the shares are held for at least five years.

John
Lee, a partner with New Bridge Street, said, “The survey shows that there is a
great deal of interest in the Aesop and its introduction alongside existing
share schemes is a major step forward in the evolution of employee share
ownership in the UK.”

By
Ben Willmott

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