The UK has been in the vanguard of broadly based employee ownership, both directly and indirectly. Direct ownership is encouraged by the legislation providing incentives for company share option plans (CSOPs), Save As You Earn (SAYE), Share Incentive Plans (SIPs) and Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI). Indirect ownership is encouraged through the tax regime for Employee Ownership Trusts, designed to encourage business succession through the establishment of John Lewis style employee trusts.
The Employee Share Plan Forum exists to support the development of both direct and indirect employee share ownership throughout the United Kingdom. The Forum believes that employee share ownership underpins the achievement of a number of socio-economic objectives, including:
- Balancing the returns from the investment of capital and returns from labour by way of ensuring that the employee base shares in the profits and increasing value of the businesses they work in.
- As a result, assisting to counteract the development of social and economic inequality.
- Encouraging the development of a broadly based, ownership culture facilitating gains in productivity and efficiency.
- Allowing stability and long term succession and business continuity.
To support these objectives through employee share plans, the Forum combines the experience and knowledge of leading experts with a range of different skills and knowledge. The Forum members provide their contributions pro bono and work collaboratively to:
- Extend the knowledge of employee share plans both in terms of their operation and socio- economic role.
- Seek to protect the legal and tax structure for encouraging employee share ownership in the UK by engaging with Government, HMRC and other Governmental bodies.
- Collate and make accessible research and know how concerning employee share plans.
- Liaise with other organisations concerned with employee share plans to seek consensus on the approach to employee share ownership in the UK.
- Encourage and facilitate the sharing of knowledge, information and ideas relating to the operation and development of employee share ownership.
The Forum is led by Graeme Nuttall OBE, the author of the Nuttall Report which formed the basis for the EOT legislation. Further details concerning Graeme’s contribution to employee share plans can be found, together with information on other Forum members, can be found here.