HMRC recently published statistics about the award of shares under Employee Shareholder agreements during the initial period from inception of the scheme on 1 September 2013 through to 5 April 2014.

The Employee Shareholder employment status was introduced in 2013 by section 31 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, which inserted section 205A into the Employment Rights Act 1996. Under the legislation, both existing and new employees can acquire shares in their employing company (or a parent company) in exchange for giving up certain employment rights, in particular the rights to claim unfair dismissal and to a statutory redundancy payment.

Whilst the data from HMRC might not be representitave of longer term interest in the scheme, it does suggest that initial take up was limited, with the figures (which are rounded to the nearest 10) indicating that Employee Shareholder shares were issued to only 230 employees during the first seven months of the scheme, by 40 employing companies.