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HMRC internal manual

Employee Tax Advantaged Share Scheme User Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Schedule 3 SAYE Option Scheme: Eligibility of individuals to participate: The employment requirement: Required eligibility provisions

Every person who meets the required eligibility provisions must be eligible to participate in the scheme. ‘To participate’ means to obtain and exercise share options under the scheme (paragraph 2 (2)).

Every person who satisfies the required eligibility provisions:

  1. is an employee (whether full-time or part-time) or full-time director of the scheme organiser or (in the case of a group) of a constituent company, and
  2. has been such an employee or director at all times during a qualifying period (specified in the scheme rules) not exceeding five years, and
  3. has earnings from the office or employment within paragraph (a) (above) are (or would be if there were any) general earnings to which section 15 applies (earnings for year when UK resident), and

must be eligible to participate in the scheme.

It is acceptable to restrict eligibility to only those employees who are ordinarily resident at the time of grant.

(Prior to 17th July 2013 anyone who owned more than 25 % of the company was ineligible to participate in an SAYE scheme. This was the ‘material interest’ test.)