LONDON, July 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Just over £200 million (£203,014,435.89) was given to UK workers in free shares last year, according to the annual ifs ProShare Employee Share Survey. A total of 378,497 workers received on average £536.37 each in free shares during 2011. This average was down from £675.98 per employee given to 353,235 employees in 2010. The tax-free shares were given to employees as part of Share Incentive Plans (SIPs), often part of reward and retention packages, up to an annual maximum of £3,000 per employee.
The survey of over 451 companies, including 95 of the FTSE 100, also revealed that over 2 million employees participated in an employee sharesave scheme in 2011, representing 37% of staff eligible to participate.
The average monthly amount of money employees contributed to a Save As You Earn (SAYE) sharesave grew slightly, to £102 from £101 in 2010, and an increasing number of staff are saving the maximum monthly amount of £250, up 7% to 22% in 2011.
John Collison, Head of ifs ProShare said:
"As our survey has shown, giving employees free shares remains a popular, tax-efficient way of rewarding employees at all levels. These are often given in recognition of good performance, either of the individual or the company, or as a way of retaining staff due to the tax implications of selling free shares within three to five years of receiving them.
What many people still don't realise however is that these employee share schemes are widely available to the majority of private sector UK workers. We calculate that around 2 million UK workers are currently participating in an all employee share scheme. If you work at a publicly listed company, it's very likely a range of share scheme options are available to you. An SAYE scheme for example, is one of the most popular and represents a low risk way of buying shares in the company you work for. At the end of the scheme, if the share price has fallen, employees do not have to buy the shares at the price offered at the start of the plan, they can choose to receive a full refund of their payments instead."
Employees can save between £5 and £250 per month from their net salary in a SAYE sharesave scheme for example, making it an affordable way of investing in shares and the company they work for.
Employers such as BT, Aviva, National Grid and ASDA all offer a range of SAYE (Save As You Earn) and SIP (Share Incentive Plans) share schemes. Over 17,000 ASDA employees recently received on average £2,900 each from an SAYE sharesave scheme.
Notes to editors:
ifs ProShare is a not for profit organisation that promotes employee share ownership and workplace financial education.
ifs ProShare was established in 1992 by the Treasury, London Stock Exchange and a number of major companies to promote Employee Share Ownership.
SOURCE ifs ProShare