Share schemes 'inflexible'

EMPLOYEE benefits lawyers are calling for the Government to introduce more flexible rules for employee share ownership schemes.

The call accompanies a survey by Norton Rose showing workforces lag behind senior executives in benefiting from the trend towards employee share options.

David Cohen, head of Norton Rose's employee benefits group, and chairman of the Share Scheme Lawyers Group (SSLG), says: “This shows the Government has a long way to go in achieving its aim of increased employee share ownership.”

All of the 30 companies surveyed, that floated on the Stock Exchange last year, had share options, but only 50 per cent offered schemes for the general workforce.

Cohen says currently, companies must invite all their workers to participate, even when this may include unprofitable divisions.

SSLG has participated in the Government's consultation process, calling for minimum participation to be reduced to 80 per cent.