The Employee Ownership Update
October 15, 2015
Prominent Companies Announce Employee Ownership PlansYesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote to Apple employees about a new plan, which he called a "stock ownership program," to more broadly provide restricted stock units (RSUs). The plan is "designed to reach employees who were not previously eligible, including many in our amazing retail and AppleCare teams," Cook wrote. He described the program as a way to say thanks, and noted that it built on Apple's successful stock purchase plan, about which he said, "I am told we have one of the highest participation rates of any company offering employee stock purchase plans."
Based on a 2013 project by the National Center for Employee Ownership, about 20 of the largest 900 S&P companies say on their websites that they provide restricted stock to most or all employees.
The German company Siemens has been working hard to expand the amount of ownership among its employees. Currently 5% of its shares are held by 144,000 of its 360,000 global employees, and in October the company announced a formula-driven employee ownership policy that would distribute shares to nearly all employees. In an article, the magazine Handelsblatt said that under the program "the net profit above the company's internal forecast is divided roughly into thirds: one-third for investments, one-third for shareholders, and one-third for employees. The workers' share goes into a pot. Once it reaches €400 million [$455 US], the amount is disbursed in the form of shares based on worker salaries at the time."