The European Commission approved the UK's 'Enterprise Management Initiative' (sic) scheme under EU State aid rules. The EMI rules lapsed in April and employers had been urged not to grant any further EMI options until approval was reconfirmed.

It is hoped that the EC has made a typo and that it has actually approved the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) scheme. Employers should now be able to grant EMI options again.

Options offered under EMI may create significant tax advantages for employers who offer their employees share options and the employees may also receive tax benefits compared to a staright share award.

The Commission says that 'it initially authorised the scheme in 2009. In March 2018, the UK authorities notified their plans to prolong the scheme to the Commission. The Commission's assessment found that the prolongation of the measure is necessary to help UK SMEs attract and retain talented and skilled personnel. It also found that the measure contains a number of safeguards, such as a cap on the value of the share options that can be subject to the tax advantage both at the employee and employer level, ensuring that potential distortions to competition are limited. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules.'

The Commission also notes that 'Without prejudice to any provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement [Brexit], which is under negotiation, this Commission decision only applies until the UK ceases to be a Member State.'


EU Press Release