OF EMPLOYEE SHARE OWNERSHIP POLICIES IN EUROPEAN
in France, all recent policy developments
in Europe pave the way towards higher incentives
for employee ownership. Norway doubled fiscal
incentives on 1.1.2017. Poland prepares dedicated
legislation. Ireland announces a new share
incentive scheme for SMEs to be introduced
in 2018, as well as The Netherlands with a
favorable tax treatment of stock options for
employees of innovative start-ups. These new
developments confirm the positive trend observed
the other hand, hesitation dominated in France,
where the outgoing government suppressed in
2017 the positive provisions introduced by
the Macron Law eighteen months earlier. This
explains the relapse of the barometer in 2017.
negative political decisions of France
since 2009 unfortunately influence the
performance of the whole of Europe.
France, they are at the origin of the
heavy fall in the rate of democratization
of employee ownership, the number of
employee shareholders being reduced
to three million compared with four
million with unchanged policy.
increasing continuously since 1980, the number of
employee shareholders in Europe was slightly declining
from 2011, before stabilizing in 2015 (See Annual
Economic Survey of Employee Share Ownership in European
Countries in 2016).
was partly due to the impact of the European financial
crisis that erupted in 2008. However,
the impact of the policy decisions taken in European
countries was probably the most important factor
in this change.
is known that the mass development of employee share
ownership depends mainly on incentive policies (See
incentives are indispensable prerequisites for the
development of employee share ownership, EFES,
mass development of employee share ownership brings
better motivation, productivity, profitability,
higher growth, more and better jobs. This is good
for all. But it depends on policy will to initiate
the virtuous circle through appropriate fiscal incentives.
A recent study showed that the balance of fiscal
costs and benefits of the ESOP policy for the US
federal budget in 2015 was 2 billion $ compared
to 17, a gain of 15 billion $ (See The
Impact of Employee Ownership and ESOPs on Layoffs
and the Costs of Unemployment to the Federal Government,
2008, some European countries took negative decisions,
removing or decreasing fiscal incentives, which
led to a decline of the number of employee shareholders.
Some other European countries took the opposite
way, applying new or higher incentives, which led
to a higher number of employee shareholders.
2009-2012, France and Ireland reduced their fiscal
incentives, as well as Denmark, Greece and The Netherlands,
where all incentives were removed. In contrast,
significant policy progress occurred in the UK in
2014-2016, as well as in Spain, in Hungary, in Austria
(which doubled its fiscal support on 1.1.2016),
and in Romania and Iceland.
addition Denmark restored in July 2016 the incentives
that were removed in 2011. This is typical of the
recent changes in European policies: One of the
first deeds of the new Danish Government in 2011
(Ms Thorning-Schmidt, socialist) was to remove all
incentives. One of the first deeds of the new Danish
Government in 2016 (Lars Rasmussen, conservative-liberal)
was to restore them.
recently, Norway doubled its fiscal support on 1.1.2017.
Vice-Prime Minister Morawiecki announced a long-term
plan in five points for the development of Poland,
including employee share ownership, and a new Polish
"Forum for Employee Ownership and Domestic
Capital Development" was set up in April 2016.
these policy decisions in various European countries,
in a positive or a negative way, can be summarized
through a single dedicated tool. This is the reason
of the setting up of the EFES "Barometer
of employee share ownership policies in European