About Global Employees Plans
It is common for Australian companies to have overseas operations and significant numbers of employees in overseas locations. When such companies introduce an ESOP for their Australian employees, they often also wish to offer a similar benefit to overseas located employees.
However, tax, employment and securities laws vary between countries. Some countries have taxations laws that seek to encourage certain types of employee equity plans such as the Share Save plans in the UK and the s401k plans and Restricted Stock Unit plans in the USA. Also, tax withholdings from equity benefits can be required in some countries but not others.
This makes running a uniform high-quality ESOP across multiple countries virtually impossible. The companies that roll out a plan offering the same features everywhere, are forced down to the lowest common denominator structure, undermining the benefits available from the best plans in each country. This type of plan may be referred to as a Global Employees Plan (GEP) which effectively amalgamates the Basic Plan and the Share Rights Plan.
Are the benefits of simplicity really worth the cost of implementing a poor ESOP structure universally? For some companies, the answer is yes.