Easyjet staff flying high as sharesave scheme pays off

EasyJet employees stand to gain around £3,431 on average each on maturity of the first year of the low-cost airline’s sharesave scheme.

The first year of the scheme, which was due to mature on 1 August, has 880 members who, on average, have made contributions of about £115 a month. Employees making contributions at this level will have paid in about £4,100 over the three years of the scheme and, based on a closing price of 332.5p as at 24 July, could end up with a total shareholding worth around £7,790.

All staff have six months to decide whether to buy the shares to keep or sell, or take the savings as cash.

Ken Lawrie, head of reward at Easyjet, said: “This is a very good rate of return. However, shares in the airline industry are volatile, particularly in recent months with very high fuel prices. At one point over the three-year period, the average holding could have been worth almost £17,000, but it is also true to say in recent weeks this value had dropped to £6,000.”

When the scheme started, the price of shares was £1.86 each. Staff were offered a 20 percent discount on shares. A total of 2,587 employees have taken part in the scheme, which was first introduced in 2005.

Easyjet also has a buy-as-you-earn scheme, in which staff can buy shares from their pre-tax income, which are then matched by the firm. In each of the last two years, the airline has also given its employees the equivalent of two weeks’ salary in free shares.