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Employee Share Ownership Plans: Evaluating the Role of Tax and Other Factors Using Two Case Studies  

by: Ramsay, Ian; Barnes, Andrew; Josev, Tanya; Lenne, Jarrod; Marshall, Shelley; Mitchell, Richard; Rider, Cameron
Source: University of Melbourne 

Employee share ownership (ESO) has been the subject of significant public policy debate. In these debates, ESO plans are usually said to be implemented for a variety of reasons including alignment of employer and employee interests, increased employee productivity, improved workplace harmony, and increased employee remuneration. This study explores, through case studies of ESO plans at two Australian companies, three key issues relevant to the implementation of ESO plans and the policy and regulation applicable to ESO plans. These issues are: (1) whether ESO plans better align the interests of employees with those of their employer, leading to better enterprise performance; (2) whether the objectives of companies in implementing ESO plans are primarily 'ownership objectives,' 'remuneration objectives' or 'workplace change objectives;' and (3) whether the concessional taxation treatment of ESO plans provides an incentive for the implementation of plans in a way that leads to improved enterprise performance.