SAYE—eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme
SAYE—eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme

The following Share Incentives guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • SAYE—eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme
  • The law governing eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme
  • General requirements regarding SAYE participation
  • Who must be invited to participate in the operation of an SAYE scheme?
  • Who else may be permitted to participate in an SAYE scheme?
  • Who is prohibited from participating?
  • Participation following the death of the option holder
  • Nominees

This Practice Note covers the following topics:

  1. the law governing eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme

  2. general requirements regarding SAYE participation

  3. who must be invited to participate in the operation of an SAYE scheme?

  4. who else may be permitted to participate in an SAYE scheme?

  5. who is prohibited from participating?

  6. participation following the death of the option holder, and

  7. nominees

For further information on save as you earn (SAYE) schemes generally, see Practice Note: How SAYE schemes work and key features.

The law governing eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme

The legislation governing eligibility to participate in an SAYE scheme is set out under paragraphs 6–7 Part 2, Schedule 3 and paragraph 10, Part 3, Schedule 3 to the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA 2003).

General requirements regarding SAYE participation

SAYE schemes are designed to be operated on an all-employee basis. The SAYE legislation therefore includes general requirements which a scheme must satisfy, and which determine who is able to participate under an SAYE scheme, and on what terms.

For these purposes, ‘to participate’ means to obtain and exercise share options under the SAYE scheme.

The general requirements are as follows:

  1. the scheme must provide that every individual who meets certain criteria must be eligible to participate in the scheme. For further information on this,

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