Global Workforce Solutions

This article originally appeared in Law360.

Companies have had a lot to digest since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TJCA”) late last year.  But for executive compensation attorneys and professionals who work with or advise public companies, the elimination of the tax deduction for performance-based compensation under section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code was perhaps the most significant change brought about by tax reform.  Since then, the changes to section 162(m) have been top of mind for everyone involved with structuring executive compensation arrangements and strategies at public companies.

Among the many questions companies face following the changes to section 162(m) is whether to continue seeking periodic shareholder approval for the performance criteria under their incentive plans.  Before tax reform, companies were generally able to deduct performance-based compensation if, among other things, the performance criteria used in the arrangement were approved by shareholder vote at least once every five years.  The repeal of the performance-based compensation exception eliminated this requirement.  However, there may be other reasons why companies might opt to continue seeking shareholder approval, even if it will no longer allow the compensation to be deductible.

We researched what large public companies decided to do this year with regard to shareholder approval of their performance criteria by reviewing the most recent proxy statements filed by S&P 100 companies.  We discovered that most companies that under pre-TJCA law would have been scheduled to seek shareholder approval for their performance criteria (because they had previously done so five years ago) elected not to do so this year.  Although a limited data set, these findings may be instructive for other public companies who are considering how to approach this matter in future years.


Continue Reading Incentive Plans and Shareholder Approval After Tax Reform

[This article was originally published in Law360.]

As U.S. companies expand internationally, they often wish to compensate their non-U.S. employees with stock options, restricted stock, phantom stock and other forms of equity compensation. But offering equity compensation to non-U.S. employees is not as straightforward as it may sound, and is often more complicated than it is at home. U.S. companies venturing into the world of global equity compensation confront a complex, cross-border web of rules and regulations, which can vary markedly from country to country.

In this article, we highlight five critical questions that can help U.S. companies navigate common legal pitfalls in the global equity space. These questions focus on some of the most rapidly evolving areas of law, including securities, exchange controls, data privacy, tax and foreign account reporting, and labor and employment.


Continue Reading 5 Questions You Should Ask About Your Global Equity Awards

As business becomes increasingly globalized, multinational corporations are sending more executives on international assignments and hiring more expatriates to fill local positions overseas.  Compensation connected to these employment patterns can create a series of legal and regulatory challenges.  For example, unless an exception applies, U.S. citizens and U.S. residents are subject to U.S. federal income tax on their worldwide income, regardless of where they perform services or earn their compensation.  Significantly, this extraterritorial reach of U.S. federal income tax extends to the complex and confounding deferred compensation rules of section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
Continue Reading Foreign Compensation and the Long Reach of Code Section 409A

We are writing with another update on French labor law that could impact international corporate transactions.  French President Francois Hollande has proposed a change to French legislation that could remove the threat of imprisonment for directors and senior employees who are found to have breached obligations to consult with works councils and other employee representatives.  The implications of this change would be important for businesses in France, and also for international companies involved in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures in France.

Continue Reading Reduced Risk for International Companies Operating In France: Potential Removal Of Severe Sanctions For Failure to Consult with Works Councils

By: Chris Bracebridge, Luciana Griebel, Helena Milner-Smith, and Jenna Wallace

A French law that comes into force on November 1, 2014 will give employees new rights to be informed prior to the sale of a small or medium-sized company, thereby allowing them the opportunity to make an offer to purchase the company.  Companies that meet certain threshold requirements (details below) will be required to inform staff of the owner’s intent to sell either the business or shares or securities giving access to the majority of the company’s capital. Failure to comply with the new law may lead to a substantial fine and could even result in the sale being nullified by a court order.  The implications of this law are important for business owners in France and also for international companies considering acquisitions in France.
Continue Reading A Trap for the Unwary in International Acquisitions: New Information Rights for Employees Prior to Sale of Company in France