Osborne’s ‘shares for rights’ scheme saved, but employers must offer free legal advice

The House of Lords has backed down in its long battle with the Government over the controversial ‘shares for rights’ scheme, but only after extra safeguards were added to the bill to protect workers from exploitation.

Ministers said companies would have to arrange for employees to be given free independent legal advice before deciding to give away some of their employment rights for shares in the company.

That legal advice will cover the terms and effects of the new employment status, including precisely what employment rights will be lost. The advice will also cover the terms and effect of the shareholding including whether they cover voting rights, a right to dividends, the distribution of any surplus assets, the redeemable value of shares and whether they can be sold.

Where there is a cost to the advice, the company will have to meet the reasonable costs, even if the individual does not take up the advice….


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