Business Irish

Thursday 19 September 2019

Tech bosses want EU share scheme reform

Patrick Collison. Photo: Bloomberg
Patrick Collison. Photo: Bloomberg
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Stripe's Patrick Collison has joined with 100 European technology sector leaders to launch a campaign urging governments to make employee stock options more attractive.

In an open letter published Wednesday and signed by about 30 chief executives of companies, along with investors and advisors, they said Europe's patchwork of different rules makes it complicated and costly for employers to award stock options and, in order to better compete with Silicon Valley, they want action on the issue. The letter will be posted to EU policy makers on January 7.

In Ireland, the Key Employee Engagement Programme (Keep) scheme introduced by Paschal Donohoe a year ago to help SMEs attract and retain skilled staff is already being revived after failing to gain traction.

The technology industry sees shares grants as a key way to keep staff without increasing wages.

"This isn't just a perk on top of a salary: universally, stock options reward employees for taking the risk of joining a young, unproven business, and give them a real stake in their company's future success.

"Stock options are one of the main levers that startups use to recruit the talent they need; these companies simply can't afford to pay the higher wages of more established businesses," the letter says.

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