State aid: European Commission approves UK EMI scheme

Released 15 May 2018

The European Commission has approved the prolongation of the UK Enterprise Management Initiative (EMI) scheme under EU State aid rules.

The scheme provides employees of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) reductions from income tax and/or national insurance contributions when exercising share options and SME employers (that are listed companies and would therefore be subject to national insurance contributions when the share options are exercised) similar reductions in contributions. The aim of the scheme is to allow SMEs to recruit and retain employees, and thus enable their growth, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The Commission initially authorised the scheme in 2009. In March 2018, the UK authorities notified their plans to prolong the scheme to the Commission. The Commission's assessment found that the prolongation of the measure is necessary to help UK SMEs attract and retain talented and skilled personnel and that it contains safeguards to ensure that potential distortions to competition are limited. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules.

For more information, see European Commission - Daily News 15 / 05 / 2018.

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