COMPANIES could boost sales and get their staff to work harder if they put in place schemes to allow their employees to partly own the business.
The Irish ProShare Association said employee financial involvement had an important role to play in boosting Ireland's competitiveness and aiding economic recovery.
A recent study carried out in the UK showed that share ownership gave employees the incentive to work harder and innovate more.
It found that, between 2008 and 2009, employee-owned companies saw sales growth rise above 11pc compared to less than 1pc for non-employee-owned companies.
Profit sharing schemes, approved by the Revenue Commissioners, allow an employer to give staff shares in the company worth up to €12,700 per year tax-free. Although no income tax applies to approved schemes, pay related social insurance ( PRSI) and the universal social charge do apply to profit-sharing schemes.
The Irish ProShare Association is part of employer body IBEC and was set up to promote employee gain sharing.
Chairman of the Irish ProShare Association Gary Boyle said: "Research has shown that employee financial involvement can increase the efficiency and profitability of organisations without adding to their costs."
He called on the Government to incentivise share ownership in the Budget. The group is holding a conference in Dublin today.
The collapse of banking stocks had meant that shares had become a dirty word in Ireland, Mr Boyle said. But studies show that in a situation where people have ownership of something, they take more care of it.
There was no data on share ownership or other gain-sharing schemes in this country, he added.