On 15 October 2013, Royal Mail floated on the London Stock Exchange.
Ten per cent of Royal Mail shares have been given to eligible employees as Free Shares.The Free Shares Offer has created the largest Free Share stake of any major UK privatisation.
If you were eligible, your Free Shares are being held in an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)-approved, tax-advantaged plan known as a Share Incentive Plan (SIP).
Under HMRC rules at the time of the flotation, employees could be given a maximum of £3,000 worth of Free Shares in any tax year. As the Royal Mail share price performed strongly at the time of allocation, the initial market value of the Free Shares that eligible full-time employees were entitled to exceeded this limit. Consequently, all eligible employees received the Free Shares they were entitled to in two allocations.
June 2015 update
In June, the Government announced it intended to gift an additional 1% of the company’s shares to employees. Government has now confirmed it will make a free allocation of 10 million shares (around 1% of Royal Mail shares) to eligible employees this financial year.
This is on top of the 10% of company shares given to eligible employees at the time of our flotation.
Shares will be allocated to eligible employees equally, regardless of grade or pay levels. Allocations will be pro-rated, based on paid hours, to differentiate between full and part-time employees.
As with the original allocation, the shares will be held in the Share Incentive Plan (SIP) so employees can benefit from tax advantages. The shares must be held for at least three years, except in certain circumstances. Full tax benefits will be available after five years.
We are working with Government to take forward this new allocation of Free Shares. Further details will be available in due course.
If you have any questions about the Free Shares Offer you can chat to a share scheme expert on our free* helpline.
Call the Employee Share Offers Helpline on 0800 012 12 13. (*Calls are free from BT landlines but other network providers may charge).
The helpline is open 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
You can also contact a share scheme expert outside of normal business hours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name, address and your payroll number. Your email will be answered by a member of the team within 48 hours.