Introduced in September 2013, “employee shareholder” status is a new category of employment status whereby in exchange for entering into an agreement for a minimum amount of shares in their employer’s business, the “employee shareholder” gives up certain employment rights. Strict rules regulate these agreements, including a requirement that an employee must have independent advice before entering into such an agreement.
Employee shareholders are not able bring claims for ordinary unfair dismissal or statutory redundancy payments, and they are not able to make statutory flexible working requests, or statutory study/ training requests. They are also expected to give 16 weeks’ notice when returning to work after taking additional maternity, adoption, or paternity leave. However, employee shareholders can still bring claims for automatic unfair dismissal and discrimination.
Employee shareholder agreements entered into on or after 1 December 2016 will not qualify for certain income tax and capital gains reliefs available for agreements entered into before that date. The Government has announced its intention to abolish employee shareholder status in the future.
This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details
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