£12m SAYE bonanza for HBOS staff
HBOS has announced a payout of approximately £12m to its workforce of almost 14,000 staff following the maturity this week of its SAYE ("sharesave") share option scheme.
The average participant benefited to the tune of about £1,000. This is well within the current capital gains tax exemption of £9,200. Assuming participants have not utilised their exemptions with other gains, this means that their SAYE benefits will be tax free.
Sharesave schemes permit employees to save between £5 and £250 a month over 3 or 5 years. At the end of the savings contract they receive a tax free bonus. They can use the proceeds of the savings contract, plus the bonus, to acquire shares in their employer, usually at a price equal to the price at the start of the contract less 20%. They therefore benefit from any rise in share price that has taken place over the contract period, with the 20% thrown in as an endowment.
A big advantage of an SAYE scheme is that employees can ask for their money back at any time up to the end of the savings contract. They are therefore insulated from risk over this period. RM2 has implemented and administers a number of SAYE schemes and we have found that one of the most valued aspects is simply the provision of the savings contract - employees say that this has allowed them to accumulate savings that otherwise they would not have made. For further details of SAYE schemes, you can download a fact sheet, or just contact us!