The process for the issue of ESOP is usually handled by the top management of the company in compliance with the ESOP section in companies act 2013. Agreements between the board of directors, the amount of ESOPs to be distributed, etc., are just a few factors that are considered before shares are given out.
In this blog, we have detailed the entire process of ESOPs issued to employees in accordance with the ESOP section in the Companies Act 2013.
ESOPs - An Overview
ESOPs (Employee Stock Option Plans) are benefit plans that encourage employee ownership in a company. Employees receive discounted shares and businesses must follow legal provisions such as the Companies Act of 2013 and the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Rules of 2014. ESOPs attract high-performing employees and align their interests with shareholders, fostering a common goal of increasing the company's value.
ESOP in Private Limited Company
The issuance of ESOPs in private companies follows the regulations stated in Section 62(1)(b) of the Companies Act, 2013, and Rule 12 of the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Rules, 2014, similar to the process for listed companies under SEBI Guidelines.
The following is a rundown of the processes that a corporation must go through in order to issue ESOPs:
- If a private firm wishes to offer ESOP, it must verify that the Articles of Association (AoA) allow for the issuing of shares through ESOP.
- Prepare the notice for the board meeting, as well as the draft resolution to be voted on during the meeting.
- Prepare an ESOP draft in compliance with the Companies Act of 2013 and the Rules.
- Adopt the resolution for the issuance of ESOP shares, determine the price of ESOP shares to be issued, and set the time and date for convening the general meeting to adopt a special resolution for issuing ESOP.
- Send the board meeting notification to all directors at least seven days before the meeting.
- Send notice of the general meeting to all of the company's auditors, directors, shareholders, and secretarial auditors at least twenty-one days before the meeting date.
- Within fifteen days following the completion of the board meeting, provide the draft minutes to all directors and submit the MGT-14 form with the Registrar of Companies.
- File the MGT-14 form, together with the papers, with the Registrar of Companies within thirty days after the special resolution is passed at the general meeting.
- Pass the special resolution for the issuing of shares under the ESOP to the directors, employees and officers of the firm at the general meeting.
- Send choices for ESOP purchases to the company's directors, employees and executives.
The timing of ESOP allocation to employees in private companies is largely concerned with three phrases. These include:
- Vest: The right of employees to apply for the shares that have been issued to them. The ESOP scheme requires a minimum of one year between option grant and option vesting.
- Grant: The distribution of shares to employees. It entails informing the employee that he is qualified for an ESOP. While offering the ESOP option to employees, the business will be allowed to choose the exercise price.
- Exercise: Employees may exercise their right to acquire shares at any time throughout the exercise period. When the option is exercised, the company will be able to choose the lock-in term for the shares issued. Employees will not be allowed to receive dividends, vote, or enjoy the privileges of a shareholder under the ESOP granted to them until their option is exercised and the shares are issued.
Disclosures Required When Issuing An ESOP In Private Limited Company
The following disclosures should be included by the corporation in the explanatory statement attached to the notice for approving the special resolution for the issue of ESOP-
- Employees who have been recognised as eligible to participate in the ESOP.
- The total amount of stock options to be issued.
- The maximum amount of time that options may be vested.
- ESOP vesting time requirements.
- The length of any lock-in period.
- The cost of exercise and the process of exercise.
- The methodology through which the corporation values its options.
- The provision of the highest amount of alternatives to an employee.
- A declaration that the firm will follow the appropriate accounting rules.
- The criteria for the expiration of employee options.
Can The ESOP Be Issued To Anyone?
According to Rule 12(1) of the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Rules, 2014, ESOPs may be granted to the following employees:
- A corporate director, including a full-time or part-time director but not an independent director.
- A company's permanent employee who works in or outside of India.
- A permanent employee or director of an Indian or foreign subsidiary firm, holding company, or associate company.
The following employees are not eligible for ESOPs:
- A director who, indirectly or directly, owns more than ten percent of the company's outstanding equity shares, either via a corporation or personal or a family.
- An employee who is a member of the promoter group or a firm promoter.
ESOPs are an attractive way to bring in new talent and retain existing ones who add value to the organisation. From the lens of an employee, it certainly shows the value the company places on you and also gives a sense of direct responsibility in the growth of the company. The better the company performs, the more valuable your ESOPs will be.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you prepare for an ESOP?
Employers have the authority to define the number of shares that may be given, as well as their price and the employees who will benefit from them. Following this, the chosen employees are entitled to execute their ESOPs and purchase the firm's shares at allowed prices that are lower than the market value.
2. How does ESOP distribution work?
Each eligible employee will have a predetermined number of the company's equity shares allotted to them at no additional expense by their employer. The employee's position on the compensation scale, length of service, or any other relevant factor may serve as the foundation for the distribution of shares.
3. What are the limits of ESOP under Companies Act, 2013?
- Maximum Limit: The total number of shares that can be issued under ESOPs cannot exceed 10% of the company's paid-up share capital.
- Individual Limit: No employee can be granted options that exceed 1% of the issued share capital of the company.
- Special Resolution: If a company wishes to exceed the aforementioned limits, it requires approval through a special resolution passed by the shareholders in a general meeting.
4. What are the rules of ESOP?
ESOP rules are governed by the Companies Act, 2013 and SEBI guidelines. They require approval, disclosure, vesting period, exercise price, lock-in period, and adherence to taxation norms. Due diligence is always advised when it comes to ESOP allocation and holding.