Thomas Cook launches share plans to motivate staff

Thomas Cook has given its UK-based employees the chance to buy shares in the company at a 20 percent discount under a sharesave scheme or through a matching option of one free share for every 10 bought under a share incentive plan (Sip).

The travel operator has introduced the all-employee schemes in an effort to retain and motivate its existing staff.

Anna Sparkes, HR consultant, policy development at Thomas Cook, said: “The main reasons for the launch were to retain staff and give employees a vested interest in the company on an ongoing basis.”

Invitations were sent out to employees on 19 May, options were granted on 16 June, and the first employee payroll deductions for the schemes were made in July.

Of Thomas Cook’s 19,000 employees, 14,000 were eligible to take part in either the Sip or the sharesave scheme. To join, they had to be based in the UK and have worked for the company for at least six months. Almost one-fifth (18.5 percent) of those who are eligible joined one of the schemes or both.

Under the sharesave scheme, employees can save between £5 and £250 a month for a period of three years, at which point they can choose to buy shares at 20 percent below the option price.

Under the Sip, employees buy shares each month and then, after five years, have the option of selling the shares tax efficiently.

The travel firm communicated the schemes by sending out invitations to all eligible employees and putting up posters around the workplace.

The company, which was floated on the London Stock Exchange in June last year, gave board approval for the schemes in April.