Employee satisfaction drives popularity of SAYE

27 May 2014

Research among 40 leading UK employers suggests the vast majority will increase SAYE monthly savings limits.

Research among 40 leading UK employers suggests the vast majority will increase SAYE monthly savings limits. 38 of the sample already have SAYE schemes and nearly all have annual invitations.

The research tracked changes in employer attitudes towards employee ownership following the Autumn Statement which enabled employees to double the amount they can pay into a SAYE or Sharesave Scheme. 

SAYE is universally acclaimed for generating positive feedback from scheme participants, alongside increased employee satisfaction and employee retention. Employers predict an increase in take-up, a higher number of shares under option and greater employee investment. They also report increased demand from employees for new schemes and wider interest in alternative tax efficient employee plans.

Consequently, companies anticipate an increase in take-up and investment, a higher number of shares under option and the issuance of more shares, alongside an increase in staff participation and subsequent ownership of the business.

Specifically, they expect participants to choose to split savings so they have multiple contracts over different launches/schemes. 

While companies think the benefit will be greatest for those already saving at the limit, they also report concerns around costs, headroom and the sourcing of new shares. Firms are registering concerns about costs of implementation, especially if they see restrictions for fi nancial ABI modelling reasons, increases in accounting costs and a review of payroll processes.

22% of companies plan to change the usual launch date and delay invitation in anticipation of using the 6 April 2014 savings prospectus. 89% currently offer the maximum £250 monthly savings limit, but more than half (54%) are likely to increase the limit to £500.

Among those still considering whether to increase the limit, (46%) issues raised include headroom and ABI limits. 50% need to check whether scheme rules have to be amended to take account of the limit change, but of those who had checked, 34% needed to amend scheme rules, whereas 66% did not. 51% thought there would be no issues with payroll being able to apply the maximum limit. 38% foresaw an impact on the likelihood that scaling would be needed. 81% said that there would not be an impact on how shares were sourced at maturity. 

Other feedback suggested companies might use Treasury shares.

31% of respondents have approved Irish SAYE plans. There was an even split between those using the €500 limit, and those who are not but will now increase it, and those who will continue to have a lower limit (set in line with a lower limit that they would use on their UK plan).

31% have an International Sharesave plan with the vast majority intending to use the local currency equivalent of the savings limit set for the UK scheme to ensure consistency.

Phil Ainsley, Employee Benefits Director, Equiniti, said; “In a more buoyant economy, employees are expecting better reward and recognition from their employers, who in turn are looking for more innovative ways of meeting their expectations and retaining their skills. 

SAYE plans are an effective and increasingly attractive way for employers to engage, motivate and retain their staff."