ESOP Guide for Start-Ups

ESOP Guide for Start-Ups


ESOP for startups had been employed by companies in India as well as throughout the world to entice employees to purchase shares and take ownership of the organization while trying their hard effort and success to the similar.

Young start-ups find it difficult to attract qualified human capital, especially as a result, they begin to lose workers even though they are eager to partake in the firm's future wealth and give lucrative incentives to keep them on board.

The implementation of ESOP inside the firm as a component of the remuneration package, which not only plays a significant role in capital liquidation but also inspires workers to work better and aids in the company's expansion, might be a remedy to this issue.

What is the aim of issuing ESOP?

Every start-up requires finance, thus by giving employees shares in the business and retaining them, the financial need of the organization can be raised.

Esop guide for startups comes out to be the ideal replacement for attracting, motivating, and keeping employees. It resembles a profit-sharing scheme. Employees who are conscious that there are proprietors and investors are likely to work more and take ownership of the firm's expansion.

Given the restricted marketability, using the plan is preferable to issuing the stocks on a public exchange.

As a result, compared to full monetary compensation, this emotional attachment towards the Start-up is substantially larger.

Who is Esop?

ESOP is typically utilized in two situations. Its Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) is typically a plan and arrangement under those options granted to staff in a corporation. This is its literal significance.

Worker stock options are the second interpretation. It is crucial to understand that choices constitute NOT shares in and of themselves. Instead, this denotes the employee's "options or right" to buy business shares at such a distant date for a predetermined cost.

The employee receives their ESOP for startups through an award letter that includes information such as the grant dates, vesting schedule, exercise price, and more.

At ESOPs allow employees the option, although not the duty, to acquire a specified number of units at a specified price for just a predetermined period of years. As a result, the employee needs not to forfeit the opportunity to purchase company interests if the worth of the assets is less than the choice option contract.

Framework for regulation

  • Company Act of 2013
  • 1961 Income Taxes Act
  •  Regulations for SEBI (Share-based Staff Benefits), 2014
  • Regulations for amending the ICDR, 2021.
  •  FEMA, 1999 6. Ern AS 102 as well as IFRS 2.

Esop creation process steps

The following actions as per the Esop guide for startups must be taken if one start-up is established in India:

  1. The 1st step seems to be to have a professional plan and an ESOP strategy. The many legal provisions governing ESOP management, pool size, payments, vesting, worker termination, exercise time, etc. are covered in this plan document.
  2. The following process is to obtain the board's authorization to implement this ESOP plan.
  3. A special settlement at the stockholders' meeting must also be passed to endorse the ESOP strategy (EGM). Sending out such an EGM notice is required, followed by holding the EGM and passing the shareholder motion.

Remember that for this to become a special motion as opposed to a regular motion, there must be at least 3 more votes in support of the resolution than opposing it (simple majority).

  1. The deck resolution, as well as the EGM response, must be submitted utilizing form MGT14 towards the Registration of Businesses (ROC) webpage. This can be done by your company president. The ROC doesn't demand any more filings.

The authorized share structure of the business DOES NOT require to be increased just at the moment of ESOP issuance because ESOPs are just options, never shares. Whenever an employee exercises, which is typically much later, does it require to be performed.

  1. Now that you have a grant letter in hand, you can formally award ESOPs among your staff members.

Note We frequently see founders attempting to reinstate grant letters to workers since those grants were promised to them long after the ESOP program was authorized by shareholders. That grant period must be later than just the ESOP shareholder's resolution date; otherwise, this is illegal.


First stage: GRANT, 

On a day known as the grant date, financial firms are granted to qualified employees. 

Stage two: vesting 

Owing to the guidelines outlined in the employee's stock options system, the option bearer can apply for corporate shares. The time between the date of grant and the day the option gets vested, or whenever the option bearer is authorized to exercise choice, is alluded to as the vesting period. Vesting may be assessed by time, achievements, or performance. 

Exercise is the third and final phase 

The employees have a right to execute an option once it has vested, which occurs when the applicable vesting term has ended (or perhaps the milestone has been reached). 

The exercise period is the day the employee executes his or her stock options. The corporation devotes the units to the qualified employees in compliance with the worker stock option program when the employee exercises the option. 

Essential legal documents: 

1. Employment contract: The employment agreement typically stipulates that perhaps the board may grant the workers such options since it deems appropriate. 

2. ESOP Plan: An ESOP Plan is a document that outlines the conditions and characteristics of an ESOP system.

3. Trust Legal document (if the ESOP is managed by a trust): If somehow the ESOP Plan is managed by a trust, a trust document of title for the establishment of a trust to retain the shares is necessary. 

4. Letter of award of options: The Corporation’s board of board members grants options to the employees in a letter that is given to them. 

5. Employee Admittance Letter for ESOPs 

Cost to Organization of ESOP Implementation in Amount

 In addition to the reduction in promoter shares, the corporation should consider the following costs: Costs associated with the Certified Value as well as the Merchant Bankers for Share Valuation Payment is due to the counsellor for overseeing and implementing the ESOP. the total expense of its administration throughout its tenure.


Thus the decision to allow it as a reduction or not should be not made clear in any particular area. It is acceptable as a business expense under Section 37 just like any other business. Moreover, litigation in India has repeatedly focused on the tax deductions of expenses related to ESOPS.

If you are looking for any Employee stock option plan ESOP services or consultants in Noida, Delhi, Gurgaon or anywhere in India, write to us at Or Call On :(+91)-9711021268 +91-9310165114

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