The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne is proposing to fast track legislation that enables employees to trade in some of their employment rights in return for shares in the company in which they work.
Details are still sketchy but it appears that employees will be able to take stakes worth between £2,000 and £50,000 in the company for which they work, free of capital gains tax. In return the employee agrees to give up their employment rights including the right to claim unfair dismissal, statutory redundancy pay and some maternity and flexible working rights.
Here are some issues as we see them:
The proposals – should they end up on the statute book – could also run foul of discrimination laws. If an employer bases share options on length of service then this could be indirect sex discrimination as most female employees tend to have less continuous service compared to men. Also, if a pregnant employee returning from work after a period of maternity leave makes a request for flexible working arrangements, and this is refused then is this not indirect sex discrimination?