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

  • 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
  • "This team asks the right questions to get to the heart of the issue. The lawyers are technically excellent and bring pragmatic solutions to our clients." 
  • "Great breadth of experience, and a high level of responsiveness."  Chambers Europe, 2015 
  •  William Fry’s ‘responsive and reliable’ team is headed by the ‘astute and commercial’ Boyce Shubotham and includes the ‘practical and incisive’ Alicia Compton, Maura Roe and ‘trusted adviser’ Catherine O’Flynn. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • "The team explained the process at each stage in layman's terms. I was impressed with the lawyers' advice; they gave me their opinion and asked whether I wanted to pursue something. I wasn't being pushed."  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • "The team has a very in-depth knowledge of the law and a clear understanding of our agenda - I have never had occasion to regret our choice.Chambers Europe, 2014
  • William Fry’s ‘service cannot be faulted’. Alicia Compton ‘has proven herself to be one of Ireland’s foremost employment lawyers’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014 

Team

  • Catherine O'Flynn
    • "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 
    • Catherine is described as a "superior solicitor working for a top-class firm. She always guides and supports clients through the all the issues." Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Catherine O’Flynn is a 'trusted adviser’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Boyce Shubotham
    • The highly experienced Boyce Shubotham is revered by the market, with one client stating: "He is insightful and gets to the heart of the matter very quickly. We find him very solution-focused and a great sounding board, frequently coming up with ideas that we may not have thought about." Chambers Europe 2019
    • Boyce is 'excellent'. Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
    • Clients confirm that the market-leading Boyce Shubotham has "excellent technical knowledge," and is "responsive and commercially aware." He possesses significant experience in contentious employment proceedings, acting for both employers and senior executives. Chambers Europe 2017 
    • Boyce "has great, savvy experience of how things will pan out. I liked his measured, personable approach." Chambers 2016
    • Boyce Shubotham is ‘astute and commercial’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Sources say Boyce Shubotham is "very strategic and astute, and demonstrates that the law is one thing, but the tactics behind it are the key." Chambers Europe, 2014 
  • Alicia Compton
    • 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 
    • Alicia is described as "highly knowledgeable, and consistently willing to consider a variety of viewpoints to ensure that her advice is fit for the particular circumstances."  Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Alicia Compton is ‘practical and incisive’Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Alicia Compton "knows her law backwards, is very considered in everything she does, and thinks things through from start to finish," say clients.Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Louise Harrison
    • Louise is described as having "a sharp legal mind".  Legal 500 EMEA 2018
  • Michael Wolfe
    • Michael Wolfe  continues to impress the market with his unrivalled 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
    • Michael Wolfe is known for his "fantastic experience and good client manner."Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Michael Wolfe is praised by clients as one of the best pensions lawyers in Ireland: "He understands the whole project; he looks at all the elements and takes them into consideration and is very commercial in the advice he gives."  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Maura Roe
    • 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 
    • Maura "gives very sound and practical advice," report interviewees.  Chambers Europe, 2014
    • Maura Roe ‘remains calm and focused’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013 

Key Contacts

Maura Roe Consultant

Louise Harrison Partner