EESC opinion: Employee financial participation in Europe

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EESC opinion: Employee financial participation in Europe

Key points

Employee financial participation (EFP) offers an opportunity for businesses, employees and society as a whole to participate more, and more effectively, in the success of the increasing Europeanisation of economic activity.

Introduction of EFP must be voluntary. It is in addition to existing remuneration systems and not a substitute, while not impeding collective wage bargaining.

The following measures should be adopted at an EU level as the next steps:

  1. The application of EFP should be facilitated EU-wide on the basis of common principles.
  2. The increased share and the diversity of forms of EFP should be analysed and made comprehensible in practical terms in order to facilitate their application, particularly in SMEs.
  3. Businesses operating across borders should be offered help, particularly in overcoming tax obstacles in specific EU/EEA countries, in order to improve staff loyalty and their sense of identification with the company more effectively by means of EFP.
  4. Forms of EFP should be developed, with a view to improving the offer by companies as well as the take-up by employees, individual incentives to asset formation, increasing employees’ share in the results of the company, and the cross-border transfer of entitlements.
  5. The positive participation of employees based on ownership and the associated sense of responsibility could help to strengthen corporate governance.
  6. Examples of best practice should continue to be publicised, thus contributing to the greater dissemination of EFP schemes. Related activities should be supported by the EU budget through a dedicated budget heading.
  7. The implementation of employee-buy-outs as a vehicle for business succession should be encouraged since it can boost the continuity and thus the competitiveness of European enterprises while at the same time rooting them in the regions.
  8. EFP could, depending on its form, be a – partial – compensation for losses of purchasing power and correct for recurring fluctuations but it should not replace wage progression.
  9. Information sources on the implications of EFP for businesses and employees as well as training and advisory services by impartial bodies, i.e. NGOs, should be established.
  10. Where collective bargaining is practised, the conditions for EFP should also be the subject of collective agreements.