Government champions worker ownership schemes in businesses with new set of guidelines designed to encourage greater employee engagement

The Government is moving to simplify employee ownership of businesses with new advice from Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Dr Cable used the Employee Ownership Conference in London today to highlight the first dedicated national Employee Ownership Day and unveil new guidance that has been developed by politicians and industry experts.

Employee ownership schemes mean staff members own a significant stake in the companies they work for. They can do so directly as shareholders or indirectly through trusts that hold workers' shares. It can also involve a mix of direct or indirect ownership.

A variety of documents will be available to workers and businesses interested in starting employee ownership schemes, including Acas-endorsed Department for Business, Innovation and Skills advice and example documentation from a case of employee ownership by Pett, Franklin and Company.

The Employee Ownership Association, a network of more than 150 co-owned businesses in the UK, outlines the various models in the guidance, while Co-operatives UK adds information on co-operative principles.

Employee ownership is worth more than 30 billion a year to the economy and is growing 10% year on year in the UK. The Government is so determined to see more companies taking it on that it is considering providing tax reliefs.

A consultation period on two forms of relief is now underway and the Government is keen to hear the opinions of people, whether they are part of employee ownership schemes or not, to make sure the tax benefits are effective in encouraging people to want to be involved.

Interested parties can witness the benefits of employee ownership for themselves as businesses that have taken up the model are opening their doors in events organised by the Government and the Employee Ownership Association.

The advantages of the model are clear in terms of the motivation of staff and rewards for hard work and success, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said. Employee ownership is a good thing for businesses and for families as it increases employee engagement, reduces the turnover of staff and lessens the likelihood of workers being absent.

Copyright Press Association 2013