Some forms of employee financial participation began to emerge at the end of the nineteenth century; the number of plans, however, remained very small, especially between 1945 and 1990. The Belgian government introduced its first incentives for employee share ownership in King’s Arrest ‘Monory-De Clerq’ on 9 March 1982. These provisions were primarily intended to support the stock exchange in the wake of a financial crisis; among them was employee share ownership, submitted in a proposal by the Liberal Party. Still applicable, these provisions have proved efficient. Additional incentives were introduced in 1991 by the Law on Equity Capital Incentives. The Law on Incentives for Stock Options of 26 March 1999 and the Law on Promotion of Employee Financial Participation of 22 May 2001 followed. These last two laws introduced tax incentives for profit-sharing and employee share ownership schemes; however, the number of plans continues to be relatively small.1 Approximately 10 per cent of large, primarily multinational companies in the financial sector had employee share ownership plans in 1999.2 Stock option plans have become relatively widespread. More than 40 per cent of enterprises with more than 50 employees offered stock option plans in 2002.3 Many of these, however, are limited to management.
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