Employer companies increasingly encounter an expectation on the part of target hires of a share incentive to form part of the compensation offer. Long established as an essential element of executive compensation, the offer of a potential ownership stake to employees at different levels across a business has become a key employer tool in the battle to secure and retain top talent. Effective use of this tool means that the share scheme solution will vary from company to company, and although tax treatment will be a significant factor in shaping that solution, there are a multitude of non-tax legal factors to consider. This article provides an overview of some of the principal non-tax legal issues that arise when advising on the establishment and operation of share schemes in Ireland by either a private company limited by shares (“private company”) or a public limited company (“public company”).
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