Tech bosses want EU share scheme re­form

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - Donal O’Dono­van

STRIPE’S Pa­trick Col­li­son, pic­tured, has joined with 100 Euro­pean tech­nol­ogy sec­tor lead­ers to launch a cam­paign urg­ing gov­ern­ments to make em­ployee stock op­tions more at­trac­tive.

In an open let­ter pub­lished Wed­nes­day and signed by about 30 chief ex­ec­u­tives of com­pa­nies, along with in­vestors and ad­vi­sors, they said Europe’s patch­work of dif­fer­ent rules makes it com­pli­cated and costly for em­ploy­ers to award stock op­tions and, in or­der to bet­ter com­pete with Sil­i­con Val­ley, they want ac­tion on the is­sue. The let­ter will be posted to EU pol­icy mak­ers on Jan­uary 7.

In Ire­land, the Key Em­ployee En­gage­ment Pro­gramme (Keep) scheme in­tro­duced by Paschal Dono­hoe a year ago to help SMEs at­tract and re­tain skilled staff is al­ready be­ing re­vived af­ter fail­ing to gain trac­tion.

The tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try sees shares grants as a key way to keep staff without in­creas­ing wages.

“This isn’t just a perk on top of a salary: uni­ver­sally, stock op­tions re­ward em­ploy­ees for tak­ing the risk of join­ing a young, un­proven busi­ness, and give them a real stake in their com­pany’s fu­ture suc­cess.

“Stock op­tions are one of the main levers that star­tups use to re­cruit the tal­ent they need; these com­pa­nies sim­ply can’t af­ford to pay the higher wages of more es­tab­lished busi­nesses,” the let­ter says.

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