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 Austrian example

Austrian legislation for employee ownership was simple until now. Any benefit that an employee received from an employee share plan (as share price rebate, as free shares, matching shares, etc.) was free of tax up to 1.460 Euro annually. This amount was doubled last year, to 3.000 Euro annually.

This is probably the best example of the "basic block", in a "building block" approach of legislation for employee ownership.

This simple piece of legislation enabled Voestalpine (50.000 employees, the Austrian steel industry, 15% employee-owned) to make employee ownership a key factor in its success. A strong contrast with many other steel industries in Europe as Arcelor, Florange, Cockerill and others !

Now the Austrian Government (big coalition with Christian Democrats and Social Democrats) has just decided to increase the free annual amount to 4.500 Euro annually.

This will be conditioned to a new scheme: In place of individual direct employee ownership, it will be collectively managed through an Employee Ownership Foundation (Mitarbei-terbeteiligungsstiftung), as it is for Voestalpine.

Many Austrian companies, even the largest, have indicated that they are ready.

Press review
We have a selection of 27 remarkable articles in 9 countries in June 2017: Austria, Belgium, Canada,  France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, USA.
Austria: New employee ownership legislation, through an Employee Ownership Foundation (Mitarbeiterbeteiligungsstiftung).
Belgium: Renewed political interest in employee ownership.
Canada: Canada celebrates first Employee Ownership Day.
France: France must return to a coherent policy of promoting employee ownership. Michel Bon calls France to wake up. Saint-Gobain celebrates its 30th annual employee share plan. New employee share plan for Sanofi. Green light for Vinci in Morocco. All Orange employees will receive free shares.
Germany: Manifesto for employee ownership in the election campaign. ProSiebenSat.1 and Axel Springer belong to the few large German companies which promote employee share ownership.
Ireland: Currently Ireland is at significant competitive disadvantage due to our poor employee ownership record and employee share incentive schemes. Sweden to abolish income tax on stock options for smaller start-ups.
Italy: Most employees are shareholders of Decathlon.
Spain: New employee share plan for Repsol.
USA:  Employee ownership can broaden wealth for all. The new study "Employee Ownership and Economic Well-being". With income inequality at record high levels, employee ownership is increasingly being lauded as a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. New firms turning to ESOPs.

The full press review is available on:

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   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 808 30 33
Web site:
EFES' objective is to act as the umbrella organization of employee owners, companies and all persons, trade unions, experts, researchers, institutions looking to promote employee share ownership and participation in Europe.

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