Designing incentive arrangements for employees
Our multi-disciplinary team can support you with:
- Advice on the staff incentive plan that’s right for you
- The steps needed to put your plan in place
- Any regulations that relate to your chosen plan
- Drafting agreements
- The employment law aspects of introducing an employee incentive plan
- Obtaining any necessary clearances from HMRC
- Tax reporting and compliance
- Directors’ remuneration and other corporate governance issues
- Future rights of investors (such as under the EIS and SEIS schemes)
- Potential impact on founders, investors and other stakeholders
As business law experts, we have the skills and experience to help you choose the employee incentive plan that’s right for your company.
Types of incentive arrangements for employees:
HMRC tax advantaged share plans
Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)
Most suitable for small, high-risk companies, this scheme provides rewards for employees that help the company grow. Our expert lawyers can help assess your company’s suitability for an EMI plan, support the valuation process, draft the option agreements and other required documents, and assist in your dealings with HMRC.
Company Share Option Plans (CSOPs)
We can help you evaluate whether your company is a good fit for a CSOP and prepare all the relevant paperwork including self-certification.
Save As You Earn Schemes (SAYE)
These offer employees the opportunity to purchase ordinary shares in your company at a favourable price. We can support the set-up process, including assessing your suitability for the scheme, support the valuation process, draft the option agreements and assist in your dealings with HMRC.
Share Incentive Plans (SIPs)
We can help you design and put in place your SIP, including setting up performance measures for staff, reviewing staff terms and conditions, liaising and communicating with employees and supporting ongoing compliance.
Employee Ownership Trusts (EOT)
We can advise on the merits of selling your company to an EOT, and help you structure and implement the sale.
Non HMRC tax advantaged incentive plans
Non-tax advantaged employee incentive arrangements do not need to meet specific legal rules like the HMRC tax advantaged plans mentioned above, so they can be quick and easy to set up. However, they may need to be structured carefully to attract the most effective tax benefits. We can work alongside you to determine if a non-tax advantaged incentive plan is right for you and help with structuring, set up and ongoing administration:
Ordinary and preferred shares
We can re-structure your company so you can make awards of ordinary or preferred shares to employees and advise on dilution, share classes and special rights for shareholders such as voting and dividend rights.
Growth share schemes/Hurdle share schemes
These arrangements work well for early-stage and growing businesses, but the conditions that apply and issues relating to company valuation need to be carefully managed. We can review your company’s suitability for growth/hurdle share arrangements, draft the growth/hurdle share subscription agreement, assist with company valuation and make the required amendments to your company’s constitution.
Share options and restricted stock units
These arrangements don’t require HMRC clearance or company valuation, and the paperwork can be more straightforward. Our expert team can advise whether a non-tax advantaged share option or RSU arrangement is right for you and support you through the implementation process.
What our clients say
We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.
We rely on Harper James to provide us with support across a full range of service areas, from commercial contracts and employment issues to fundraisings and investments. The team at Harper James are always available to provide us with cost effective, pragmatic and commercially focused advice.
We are a small company and the process of setting up a company share scheme was pretty daunting. Abby Watson and Harper James Solicitors provided expert advice to ensure we understood the process and drafted all relevant documentation. We were very impressed with the service received and would recommend the firm to others.
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
As a University spin-out getting the right team of lawyers to support our emerging business was fundamental and the team are always available to provide us with the invaluable guidance and support we require.
Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Quick, concise and best of all reasonably priced
Fast, flexible access to specialists.
Who we help: High-growth businesses
High-growth companies tell us that finding and retaining top talent when a business is scaling is one of their key risk areas, and balancing the needs of founders, investors and employees (while managing cashflow and protecting working capital) is crucial, particularly when considering an employee share plan. That’s why entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs lean on us. We know how to get the balance right – introducing an employee incentive plan that aligns with your business strategy now and later down the line.
Examples of our work
Cleared for take-off: AGS Handling becomes an Employee Ownership Trust
14 April 2021
When shareholders at Aviation Ground Support made the decision to retire from their business, there was one thing above all else they wanted to try …
Assisting Reposit to transform tenancy deposits for good
17 September 2020
Reposit is on a mission to make renting more affordable and accessible for the 4.5 million UK households who rent their homes. Originally founded by …
Helping scale-up Qudini cast its spell on the in-store customer experience
23 July 2020
As the story goes, the retail tech scale-up Qudini was born following an O2-sponsored hackathon in 2012 and it’s reached for the stars ever since. …
Getting the best deal for Aeristech’s EMI scheme
28 May 2020
Harper James has helped one of our longest-serving clients to deliver a welcome boost to its workforce. Aeristech contacted our corporate solicitor Abby Watson about …
Why choose Harper James Solicitors?
We’re a modern law firm with a difference. Our innovative remote operating model means that you can access expert City-grade legal advice from partner-level solicitors at a fraction of the cost of traditional law firms. Our senior solicitors have all been recruited from top 100 UK law firms or large international businesses. Our expert employee incentive lawyers include:
Employee Incentives Solicitor
Ian has over 25 years’ experience advising on employee incentive arrangements (including EMI, CSOP, SIP and SAYE plans and growth/hurdle share and phantom equity arrangements).View profile
Jas is a corporate partner at Harper James Solicitors, advising on corporate governance, mergers & acquisitions, venture capital & investments.View profile
Adam Kudryl is a Partner and Corporate & Commercial Solicitor at Harper James Solicitors, specialising in strategic investments, acquisitions and sales.View profile
Corporate Solicitor & CEO
Toby Harper is the CEO & Founder of Harper James Solicitors, as well as a corporate & commercial solicitor. He specialises in venture capital and the tech sector.View profile
Abby Watson is a corporate solicitor, specialising in private equity investments, mergers & acquisitions, EMI share schemes, corporate finance and governance and more.View profile
Stephen is an experienced corporate lawyer, with a career including time at DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons. He specialises in mergers and acquisitions and private equity work.View profile
Shubhu specialises in early-stage fund raisings, shareholder arrangements and M&A. Prior to joining Harper James she worked at Mills & Reeve and before that at Addleshaw Goddard and Slaughter and May.View profile
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