3 April 2019

Proposals to reduce costs of employee share scheme for small businesses

The Morrison Government has today released a consultation paper on proposed reforms to encourage small businesses to offer employee share schemes to help them attract, retain employees and grow their businesses.

The proposals in the consultation paper will make it more attractive for businesses to offer an employee share scheme by simplifying, consolidating and expanding the current regulatory framework, and reducing the time and cost burden for businesses offering employee share schemes.

The Government is consulting on proposals to:

  • consolidate exemptions and class order relief from disclosure, licensing, hawking, advertising and other obligations in the Corporations Act 2001;
  • increase the value limit of financial products that can be offered by unlisted companies in a 12 month period from $5,000 per employee to $10,000 per employee;
  • expand relief for unlisted companies offering an ESS to cover contribution plans, where an employee can make a monetary contribution to acquire financial products; and
  • allow small businesses to offer an ESS without publicly disclosing commercially sensitive financial information in lodged disclosure documents, unless they are otherwise obligated to do so.

These reforms follow a number of previous actions by the Government to encourage employee share schemes for start-ups. They also build on other actions the Government has announced to support small businesses, including tax relief to millions of small and medium sized businesses.

The consultation paper is available on the Treasury website.