Shares for rights: an opportunity for private equity?

The recent news that eight members of private-equity-backed Whitworths’ management team are being offered ‘shares for rights’ by their private equity owner may be an indication of things to come. 

Under the new scheme, contained in section 31 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, and which came into force on 1 September 2013, employees can give up their right to claim unfair dismissal (except for reasons that are automatically unfair, such as discrimination), the right to request flexible working, the right to statutory redundancy pay and certain other statutory employment rights, in return for shares in their employer (or its parent company) worth at least £2,000. 

The scheme is open to all employees although clearly the scheme is better suited to senior employees than it is to junior staff. Senior management are unlikely to bring an unfair dismissal claim in any event — and will have contractual protection — so have little to lose and potentially plenty to gain by agreeing to become an ‘employee shareholder’. Anyone can apply for an ‘employee shareholder’ position, although they cannot be forced to accept the status if they do not want to…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Walker Morris briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Walker Morris

View more briefings from Walker Morris

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


Kings Court
12 King Street

Turnover (£m): 42.50
No. of lawyers: 188