Employment Incentives

We advise private and publicly held companies on the design and implementation of employee share schemes.  

Our areas of expertise include advising on:

  • the design and implementation of share option plans, long term incentive plans and restricted stock plans
  • and obtaining Revenue Commissioner approval for profit-sharing and savings related share option schemes
  • the treatment of share options and share awards in takeovers, mergers and schemes of arrangement
  • employee bonus programmes
  • corporate and securities law issues relating to employee share options and awards

We work closely with William Fry Tax Advisors to optimise the tax treatment of employee incentives. 

William Fry Tax Advisors is a member of the Taxand international network of advisors.  We work with other network members to advise multinational companies on offering their share incentives in various jurisdictions.

Our experience includes advising:

  • NYSE-listed King Digital Entertainment on the treatment of its employee share options, across multiple jurisdictions, in its $5.9bn takeover by Nasdaq-listed Activision Blizzard. 
  • IAG on the employee share scheme and employment issues arising in its acquisition of Aer Lingus 
  • AA plc on the employee share scheme and employment issues arising in its sale of AA Ireland to Carlyle Cardinal
  • BriteBill Limited on the employee share scheme and employment issues arising on its acquisition by Amdocs
  • a number of emerging growth technology companies on the design and implementation of employee share plans
     

Protection For Pregnant Workers in Collective Redundancy? Opinion Proposed To ECJ

The Advocate General of the ECJ has published an opinion concluding that pregnant workers are protected from dismissal in all but exceptional cases, including where they have not yet informed their employer of their pregnancy.


Legislative Proposals for Precarious Work Approved

The Government has approved proposals for priority drafting of legislation which aims to improve the employment protections afforded to workers on zero-hour and low-hour contracts and strengthen the regulation of precarious work.


50% of Irish Employees have work contacts on personal social media

A social media and employment research report produced by Top 5 Irish law firm William Fry has revisited the topical issue of social media usage within the workplace. The annual report, the third in the series, outlines that in Ireland, 1 in 2 employees have work-related contacts on their personal social media accounts compared to 40% in 2014. However, only 2% of employers have discussed the issue of such work connections on personal social media with their employees.


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Department

  •  William Fry's Employment & Benefits team is "resourced with top quality individuals who are on top of their game in terms of legal skills and knowledge." One client mentions the team "are very commercial in their outlook – and focused on helping clients achieve their preferred objectives. I have found them very approachable and straightforward in their advice." They have also been described as having "a wealth of experience in dealing with complex employee share schemes and are pragmatic and solutions focused in navigating challenges." One client notes that their "strengths are their knowledge of the industry and their expertise in the field. They keep up to date with emerging topics/issues, are quick to advise on them and proactive in bringing important issues to the table." Legal 500 2020
  • "I really trust their judgement," says an impressed client, adding: "They are innovative in mitigating risk and they make complex things seem straightforward." Another source is emphatic in their praise for the lawyers: "Their advice is very thorough and the team is extremely responsive. It is the personal touch I am most impressed with." Chambers Europe 2020
  • William Fry "will go beyond the brief to ensure that its advice is practical as well as legally sound". Legal 500 2019
  • An interviewee appreciates the team's "very clear and uncomplicated advice". Another source is grateful that the lawyers"are really approachable and speak in layman's terms, highlighting the associated risks". Chambers Europe 2019 
  • A client notes: "Their work in my experience has always been of the highest quality. The advice is practical and relevant and always geared towards the best interests of the client," adding: "They have an in-depth knowledge of our business which guarantees that the advice provided is always relevant." Another client says: "Not only are they extremely knowledgeable, innovative in their advice and commercially minded, they are also a down-to-earth, unassuming and approachable team of solicitors." Chambers Europe, 2018
  • Interviewees say the group is "very capable, pragmatic and customer-focused. They bring a wealth of experience to employment and pensions law issues and provide responsive, practical and effective solutions to critical issues." Other clients refer to a "top-class service" from the department, advising: "It is a very collegial team that is very careful and considered about its advice and always on point. It is particularly good in complex or sensitive scenarios." Sources explain that the "partners are receptive, responsive, experienced and provide added value, as well as very good legal advice. There is a good breadth and depth in terms of back-up resources, and all cross-border work is handled expertly." Chambers Europe 2017
  • "The firm's advice is of the highest quality and based on solid research and case studies. It is also highly tailored and relevant. Working with this firm is an educational experience." Chambers Europe, 2016
  • "I would rate William Fry's performance very highly. Apart from mastery of the technical aspects of the work, I find the firm pragmatic and commercial when it comes to pension-related matters and it acts as a partner to us in delivering optimal solutions." Chambers Europe, 2016
  • The team at William Fry takes ‘a highly professional, informed and engaging approach.’ Legal 500 EMEA 2016

Team

Catherine O'Flynn
  •  According to Legal 500 2020, one client described Catherine as "a stand-out employment lawyer" and has "the full range of expertise and maintains a high profile with indigenous and international corporates." Another client noted that Catherine "is an excellent and experienced advisor, providing pragmatic guidance on issues of Irish employment law. She would always be my first port of call as trusted counsel in Ireland, on anything complex or strategic."
  • Sources laud Catherine's approach to mandates, with one client reporting: "Her advice is very pragmatic and she always explains very complex situations in easily understandable language." Chambers Europe 2020
  • "She is an extremely capable individual with a great understanding of our business. She has a keen academic brain and is a great asset to the team." Chambers Europe 2019
  • One client particularly appreciates that "she is decisive, reassuring, incredibly efficient and effective," adding: "You feel safe under her direction." Chambers Europe 2018
  • Catherine O’Flynn is ‘incredibly effective’. Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
  • Sources describe her as "very astute, direct and diplomatic." Chambers Europe 2017 
  • Sources say "She has an ability to ask the right questions and provide clarity on the key elements and possible courses of action." Chambers Europe 2016 

Alicia Compton

  • In Chambers Europe 2020, one source highlights Alicia as "an asset to any client for her practical style and expert advice."  Another impressed client reports: "She figures out the best possible outcome for her client and works relentlessly to accomplish it. She thinks and acts with complete clarity and can express the most complicated and convoluted problems in an understandable manner."
  • According to Legal 500 EMEA 2020, one client said "I work principally with Alicia Compton. She is outstanding. Her key attributes are that she is outcome focused, pragmatic, crystal clear in her thinking and advice, exudes calm, and will tackle any problem. She also leads a strong team very well." Another client noted that "Alicia is one of Ireland’s top employment lawyers. She is always on top of her brief and her down to earth practical approach to problem solving is worth gold." 
  • One impressed client states: "She has extensive experience and knowledge of our business and can provide advice in a most practical and efficient way. She has an uncanny knack of being able to see through the mire and understand where the real problem lies." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Alicia is described as a 'most trusted adviser'. Legal 500 EMEA 2019
  • Alicia Compton is ‘extremely innovative’. Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
  • Alicia Compton is ‘one of Ireland’s leading practitioners’. Chambers Europe 2017 
  • Clients comment that Alicia has "intricate knowledge of our business and backs us proactively at every turn. It's almost like she is a part of our company, rather than an external provider. Fantastic!". Chambers Europe 2016
  • Alicia's  "keen legal brain and common sense result in excellent outcomes". Legal 500 EMEA 2016 

Michael Wolfe

  • Michael Wolfe  continues to impress the market with his unrivaled experience in the pensions arena. One client describes him as "top of his area of expertise," while another appreciates his "level of detail, swiftness of response and clarity." Chambers Europe 2019
  • The "utterly reliable" Michael Wolfe is a seasoned practitioner with impressive knowledge of pensions law. Clients say: "He is very responsive, knowledgeable and can deal with individuals at all levels." Chambers Europe 2017 
  • Sources state: "He has great knowledge of the industry in Ireland and comes up with creative solutions for difficult problems." Chambers Europe, 2016

Maura Roe

  • According to Legal 500 2020, one source notes that "Maura is hugely experienced in employee share option schemes and is always pragmatic and solutions focused." 
  • Market sources praise Maura's "commercial and pragmatic advice." Chambers Europe 2020 
  • Clients describe Maura as "practical, pragmatic, well informed, easy to deal with and very level-headed." Chambers Europe 2019
  • The 'standout' Maura Roe. Legal 500 EMEA 2019
  • Maura, whom one client calls ‘the foremost expert in Ireland on shares and share options’Chambers Europe 2017 

Key Contacts

Maura Roe Consultant