This paper examines the broad-based grant of employee stock options (ESOs) in the period following the Initial Public Offering (IPO). Stock option grants are used to reduce the negative effects of conflicts of interests associated with a firm’s going public. The study documents that option grants can be seen as corporate governance instruments for a number of model specifications. Also, it is found that there is a robust relation between option grants and market and accounting returns, respectively. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no previous study has investigated the determinants of the grants of employee stock options in the post-IPO period to both upper-level and lower-level executives during a period of sixteen years. Because the cross-sectional data of this study amply encompasses more than a business cycle it is possible to examine the grants of ESOs across tight and soft labour markets. During the former type of labour market it appears that more options are granted. Also, the empirical results provide evidence that option grants are an increasing function of the employees’ benefits for the firm. Finally, the findings show that cash constrained firms appear to use employee stock option grants in place of cash compensation.