Business Legal Services

Employee Incentive Arrangements

Attract and retain top talent with employee incentives that align staff to your business goals, fit in with your company’s plans, constitution and shareholders, comply with regulations, and don’t break the bank.

Employee incentives that give staff a real stake in the company they’re working to build offers tangible benefits to both growing and established businesses.

But careful planning and expert legal advice are needed to make sure that your share plan can cope with future changes to your company and workforce, and takes advantage of whatever tax efficiencies and reliefs are available.

That’s where we come in…

Get in touch


Designing incentive arrangements for employees

Our multi-disciplinary team can support you with:

  • Advice on how a staff incentive plan can affect your company’s constitution, strategy and shareholders in the short-, medium- and long-term and how to optimise its impact. This is more important than some companies realise: awards made at an early stage by a successful start-up may still be in place and very valuable years later, on an exit or investment round
  • Choosing the staff incentive plan that’s right for you
  • The steps needed to put your plan in place
  • Any regulations that relate to your chosen plan
  • Drafting agreements
  • The employment law aspects of introducing an employee incentive plan
  • Obtaining any necessary clearances from HMRC
  • Tax reporting and compliance
  • Future rights of investors (such as under the EIS and SEIS schemes)
  • Potential impact on founders, investors and other stakeholders
  • Directors’ remuneration and other corporate governance issues

As business law experts, we have the skills and experience to help you choose the employee incentive plan that’s right for your company.

Types of incentive arrangements for empoyees

HMRC tax advantaged share plans

Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)

Most suitable for small, high-risk companies, this scheme provides rewards for employees that help the company grow with very favourable tax treatment. Our expert lawyers can help assess your company’s suitability for an EMI plan, support the valuation process, draft the option agreements and other required documents, and assist in your dealings with HMRC.

Designing an EMI share option plan

Company Share Option Plans (CSOPs)

We can help you evaluate whether your company is a good fit for a CSOP and prepare all the relevant paperwork including self-certification.

Save As You Earn Schemes (SAYE)

These offer employees the opportunity to purchase ordinary shares in your company at a favourable price. We can support the set-up process, including assessing your suitability for the scheme, support the valuation process, draft the option agreements and assist in your dealings with HMRC.

Share Incentive Plans (SIPs)

We can help you design and put in place your SIP, including setting up performance measures for staff, reviewing staff terms and conditions, liaising and communicating with employees and supporting ongoing compliance.

Employee Ownership Trusts (EOT)

We can advise on the merits of selling your company to an EOT, and help you structure and implement the sale.

Set up an employee ownership trust (EOT)


Non HMRC tax advantaged incentive plans

Non-tax advantaged employee incentive arrangements do not need to meet specific legal rules like the HMRC tax advantaged plans mentioned above, so they can be quick and easy to set up. However, they may need to be structured carefully to attract the most effective tax benefits. We can work alongside you to determine if a non-tax advantaged incentive plan is right for you and help with structuring, set up and ongoing administration:

Ordinary and preferred shares

We can re-structure your company so you can make awards of ordinary or preferred shares to employees and advise on dilution, share classes and special rights for shareholders such as voting and dividend rights.

Growth share schemes/Hurdle share schemes

These arrangements work well for early-stage and growing businesses, but the conditions that apply and issues relating to company valuation need to be carefully managed. We can review your company’s suitability for growth/hurdle share arrangements, draft the growth/hurdle share subscription agreement, assist with company valuation and make the required amendments to your company’s constitution.

Growth shares incentives scheme

Using hurdle shares to incentivise employees

Share options and restricted stock units

These arrangements don’t require HMRC clearance or company valuation, and the paperwork can be more straightforward. Our expert team can advise whether a non-tax advantaged share option or RSU arrangement is right for you and support you through the implementation process.


Who we help: High-growth businesses

High-growth companies tell us that finding and retaining top talent when a business is scaling is one of their key risk areas, and balancing the needs of founders, investors and employees (while managing cashflow and protecting working capital) is crucial, particularly when considering an employee share plan. That’s why entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs lean on us. We know how to get the balance right – introducing an employee incentive plan that aligns with your business strategy now and later down the line.


Testimonials

What our clients say

We are a small company and the process of setting up a company share scheme was pretty daunting. Abby Watson and Harper James Solicitors provided expert advice to ensure we understood the process and drafted all relevant documentation. We were very impressed with the service received and would recommend the firm to others.
Julie Robinson CEO, Move It or Lose It
We rely on Harper James to provide us with support across a full range of service areas, from commercial contracts and employment issues to fundraisings and investments. The team at Harper James are always available to provide us with cost effective, pragmatic and commercially focused advice.
Nick Holzherr CEO, Whisk.com
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards CEO, Aeristech
Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Koral Ibrahim Founder & MD, The Ready House
The support, advice and guidance from Harper James was absolutely vital. Shubhu, Callum and the team there were always on hand to deal with any issues that we needed help with as the deal progressed. This is an exciting new stage in the development of the business.
Sam G Bose CEO and Founder, IntelliSense.io
We are a small company and the process of setting up a company share scheme was pretty daunting. Abby Watson and Harper James Solicitors provided expert advice to ensure we understood the process and drafted all relevant documentation. We were very impressed with the service received and would recommend the firm to others.
Julie Robinson CEO, Move It or Lose It
We rely on Harper James to provide us with support across a full range of service areas, from commercial contracts and employment issues to fundraisings and investments. The team at Harper James are always available to provide us with cost effective, pragmatic and commercially focused advice.
Nick Holzherr CEO, Whisk.com
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards CEO, Aeristech
Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Koral Ibrahim Founder & MD, The Ready House
The support, advice and guidance from Harper James was absolutely vital. Shubhu, Callum and the team there were always on hand to deal with any issues that we needed help with as the deal progressed. This is an exciting new stage in the development of the business.
Sam G Bose CEO and Founder, IntelliSense.io

Why choose Harper James Solicitors?

We’re a modern law firm with a difference. Our innovative remote operating model means that you can access expert City-grade legal advice from partner-level solicitors at a fraction of the cost of traditional law firms. Our senior solicitors have all been recruited from top 100 UK law firms or large international businesses. Our expert employee incentive lawyers include:


Pricing plans

Legal support designed
to fit your business needs

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:

City

Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.

On-Demand

Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.



What next?

Please leave us your details and we’ll contact you to discuss your situation and legal requirements. There’s no charge for your initial consultation, and no obligation to instruct us. We aim to respond to all messages received within 24 hours.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Your data will only be used by Harper James Solicitors. We will never sell your data and promise to keep it secure. You can find further information in our Privacy Policy.

Our offices

A national law firm

A national law firm

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Floor 5, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP
A national law firm

To access legal support from just £125 per hour arrange your free no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your business requirements.

Make an enquiry