Understanding your options
An employee share scheme is a common employee benefit in Australia. It can be an effective way to attract and retain talented workers, while aligning employee interests with those of company shareholders.
The scheme might offer shares as part of your salary package, or offer you the opportunity to buy shares, potentially through a loan that the company provides. For many people, this is the first investment in equities they will make and there are a number of important considerations before deciding to participate in an employee share scheme.
Worked example: things you may want to consider when entering into an employee share scheme
Michael joined the technology company, Smith and Taylor, in January of the relevant tax year. As part of his salary package, he was offered the ability to purchase $1,000 worth of shares through a salary sacrifice arrangement.
Under the terms of the employee share scheme, the shares are purchased without brokerage, at a volume weighted average price at a future date. If Michael bought the shares on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), he would have to pay the market price, as well as brokerage. By participating in his employee share scheme, concessional tax treatment may be available to Michael.
After thinking through the pros and cons of participating in the employee share scheme, Michael decided to seek independent financial advice before making a decision.