UK employees received £200 million in free shares in 2011

More than £200 million was given to UK employees in free shares in 2011, according to research by IFS Proshare.

The annual IFS Proshare Employee share survey, which polled 451 organisations, found that a total of 378,497 employees received on average £536.37 each in free shares during 2011. This was down from £675.98 per employee given to 353,235 employees in 2010.

The shares were given to employees as part of share incentive plans (Sips), up to an annual maximum of £3,000 per employee.

The research also found that two million employees participated in an employee sharesave scheme in 2011, representing 37% of staff eligible to participate.

The average monthly amount of money employees contributed to sharesave schemes in 2011 grew slightly, to £102 from £101 in 2010. An increasing number of staff are saving the maximum monthly amount of £250, up to 7% to †22% over the year.

John Collison, head of IFS Proshare said: “As our survey has shown, giving employees free shares remains a popular, tax-efficient way of rewarding employees at all levels.

“These are often given in recognition of good performance, either of the individual or the organisation, or as a way of retaining staff due to the tax implications of selling free shares within three to five years of receiving them.”

Read more articles on sharesave and Sip schemes