As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Government is taking steps to make it easier for employers to provide incentives to their employees through Employee Share Schemes (ESS). In particular, the Government has committed to:

  • limit the requirement for disclosure documents given to employees under an eligible ESS and lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to be made available to the public; and
  • consult on options to amend the disclosure requirements to make ESS more user-friendly.

To fulfil the first of these commitments, the Government intends to introduce legislation which will, among other things, remove the requirement for ASIC to place eligible ESS disclosure documents on public register by amending the s1274 of the Corporations Act 2001.

A consultation paper on options to make ESS more user friendly is also available at the Treasury website.

Extract from draft EM

1.6 This Schedule amends [s1274 of] the Corporations Act so that ESS disclosure documents do not need to be made publicly available if:

  • the offer is of an ESS interest under an ESS;
  • the disclosure document states that ESS interests will be made available only to employees of the company or its subsidiary, and relate only to ordinary shares;
  • none of the equity interests in the issuing company or the companies in its group are listed for quotation in the official list of an approved stock exchange at the end of the issuing company’s most recent income year (the pre-lodgement year);
  • the issuing company and all companies in its group were incorporated less than 10 years before the end of the pre- lodgement year; and
  • the issuing company has an aggregated turnover not exceeding $50 million for the pre-lodgement year.

[Treasury – consultation page, Draft Bill & Draft EM] [LTN 207, 26/10/16]