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New Record Year for Employee Share Ownership in Europe


The new "Annual Economic Survey of Employee Share Ownership in European Countries" is just released
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New Record Year for Employee Share Ownership in Europe

New record year for employee share ownership in Europe, with nearly 400 billion Euro held by employees in their company or 3.11%.

More and more European companies are organizing employee share plans. In 2018, 87.3% of all large European companies had employee share plans of all kinds, while 52.3% had "broad-based" plans for all employees. Their number increased by 3 to 4% on average each year since 2006, a solid growth. The rise is back for the number of employee shareholders, with 7.5 million people in large European companies; if we add one million employee shareholders in SMEs, the total figure reaches 8.5 million.

However, the decline in the democratization rate of employee share ownership has still to be stopped.

Following the crisis, some European countries (including the UK) had chosen for stronger incentive policies, promoting employee share ownership and long term savings as an investment for the future. Instead of that, some other countries (including France) had chosen to reduce public spending and to support household consumption, while incentives for long term savings and for employee share ownership were sacrificed.

This had a strong impact on the democratization rate of employee share ownership in Europe (the proportion of employee shareholders amongst all employees), leading to a divorce between continental Europe and the UK. A sharp drop below 20% was observed on the continent. On the contrary, the democratization rate had risen to more than 25% in the UK.

After the negative phase from 2009 to 2013, policy decisions are positive again in most European countries. This led to a rebound of the democratization rate to 38% in France  following the "Macron Law", illustrating the high elasticity of employee share ownership to fiscal incentives.

However negative factors are still prevailing in some countries. Germany gives the picture of the dramatic impact of such policies on the democratization rate of employee share ownership, with less than 13%.

On the other hand, the UK and France are the only European countries showing a recent but significant positive dynamics of the majority-employee-owned sector. The number of such companies increased from 36 in the UK in 2014 to 80 in 2018, mainly due to the impact of the new Employee Ownership Trust scheme implemented in 2014. In France, it is mainly due to the multiplication of combined Management and Employee Buy-Outs.

Press Review
We have a selection of 22 remarkable articles in 8 countries in March 2019: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, USA.
Belgium: EASI is employee-owned and for the fifth time in a row "Best Place to Work".
Canada: Canadian government will cap the use of the preferential tax treatment on stock options.
France: How the new "Pacte Law" will impact employee share ownership and savings schemes. Employee share ownership for start-ups. First employee share plan for Iliad. New workers co-operative linked to rescue plans.
Germany: 300.000 employee shareholders for Siemens through free share awards.
Italy: First employee share plan for Generali.
Poland: New employee share plan for XTPL.
UK: British Airways unions call for the re-introduction of an employee share ownership scheme. New firms sold to Employee Ownership Trusts. John Lewis cuts staff bonuses to lowest level in 65 years.
USA: New companies sold to ESOPs. Colorado launches initiative to boost employee ownership of businesses, "looking to make Colorado the Delaware of employee ownership".

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)2 791 96 00
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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.