Introduced in 2014, Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs) provide an attractive alternative to traditional business succession strategies, offering a series of unique benefits to businesses, their employees, and the wider economy.
Employee engagement and productivity
One of the most immediate benefits of EOTs is their positive impact on employee engagement and productivity.
As beneficiaries of the trust, employees have a direct, vested interest in the success of the business.
They become not just workers, but also part-owners, which nurtures a stronger commitment to the company’s objectives.
Studies suggest that companies with engaged employees perform better on multiple measures, including reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and higher customer satisfaction rates.
From a financial perspective, EOTs also offer significant benefits. For business owners looking to sell, the sale of a controlling interest (more than 50 per cent) of the business to an EOT is free from Capital Gains Tax (CGT), providing a cost-effective route for succession planning.
The employees, as beneficiaries of the EOT, also gain the opportunity to receive tax-free bonuses, up to a capped limit per annum.
These incentives can result in substantial tax advantages for both the selling owners and the employee beneficiaries.
Stability and longevity
EOTs promote business stability and longevity, particularly in the context of succession planning.
In contrast to a traditional sale of a business, where future directions may be uncertain, a sale to an EOT ensures that the business continues in a manner consistent with its established values and goals.
The employees, many of whom may have dedicated significant portions of their careers to the business, are naturally invested in its continued success.
This can reduce business disruption during the transition phase and enhance long-term business prospects.
On a macro level, businesses owned by EOTs contribute to the resilience of the economy. Research has shown that employee-owned businesses are less likely to fail during economic downturns.
This resilience stems from their focus on long-term sustainability over short-term profits.
Additionally, they are more likely to retain employees during tough economic times, providing stability at a company and community level.
Finally, EOTs can foster a sense of social responsibility and collective welfare.
Businesses owned by their employees are often more invested in their local communities, contributing positively to societal welfare.
EOTs offer a robust alternative to traditional business structures and should be considered as part of a business’s succession or exit planning.
These trusts are likely to play an increasingly significant role in shaping a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable business environment. If you would like advice on EOTs, please speak to us.