China: 从争议解决视角看员工股权激励方案设计

Last Updated: 27 September 2019
Article by Li Hong
Most Read Contributor in China, September 2019

员工持股作为一种制度构想安排被提出,意在为了让员工正常获得劳动收入的同时获得资本收入 [1]。逐渐成长起来且目前在我国大行其道的员工股权激励,一般是指根据企业制定的股权激励方案,企业员工在达到相关要求时直接持有任职企业或者关联企业的股权(或股份),或者通过持股平台(包括有限合伙、有限公司或股份公司)、自然人代持等方式间接持有任职公司的股权/股份的激励制度安排。在更宽泛意义上,有人将实践中的以企业股权/股份的价格/价值/增值作为奖励金额核算依据,以及根据企业内部核算对象(如"阿米巴"、"事业部"等)管理规定来核算部门及个人薪酬及奖励等做法也归为员工股权激励,但因并不涉及法律意义上的员工持有股权,故不在本文讨论范围。

一、员工股权激励制度中的企业与员工之间的关系与劳动关系有关但不同

员工股权激励制度与劳动合同关系密切。一般来说,被激励员工与企业保持劳动关系是对企业对该员工进行股权激励的前提;同时,劳动合同履行情况,如绩效考核目标是否达成、是否遵守公司劳动纪律和规章制度、是否履行保密及竞业限制义务等相关情况,也会影响股权激励结果;员工离职,经常触发员工所持股权的回购机制。

虽然企业与员工之间的劳动合同及其履行情况是企业实行员工股权激励制度的前提和事实依据,但员工股权激励安排并不等同于劳动关系,也不仅是劳动关系的加强和深化。员工股权激励制度目的在持股,必须国家关于股权、持股平台等相关的法律规定;员工股权激励方案中的股权来源、员工取得股权方式及持有方式、股权内容限制、股权回购等,要在《公司法》《合伙企业法》《合同法》相关民商事法律规定的框架中设计和执行。

从法律关系来看,股权激励下的员工只是向企业提供了一份劳动,但因其与企业之间签署有劳动合同和员工股权激励协议,则分别相应产生不同的法律结果:根据劳动合同,企业和员工之间建立劳动关系,适用劳动法、劳动合同法,员工接受企业管理提供劳动,获得劳动报酬,人身关系上具有从属性;根据员工自愿签署的股权激励协议,企业和员工之间形成平等的民商事合同关系,员工依据协议取得和持有企业股权,成为公司限制性或者非限制性股权/股份的股东。即, "一因二果",且二个法律关系清晰可辨。

然而,由于上述二个法律关系中的主体与行为关联密切,且劳动争议与民商事争议在我国存在截然不同的争议解决司法程序覧劳动争议首先适用《劳动争议调解仲裁法》的劳动仲裁前置程序,且时效为1年;民商事纠纷直接使用《民事诉讼法》《仲裁法》,诉讼时效一般为3年覧且影响裁判结果,司法实践中对因员工股权激励引发的争议适用的争议解决问题,存在不同的观点。

二、员工股权激励争议是否属于劳动仲裁事项,裁判观点不同,各有逻辑

我们先通过公开的司法文书中对一家企业覧深圳市方迪科技股份有限公司("公司")与其员工张浩等("员工")因股权激励协议引发的争议处理情况,看一下法院的主要观点。该案中,公司与员工签订劳动合同后,全体公司股东与员工签订股权激励协议并事后得到公司确认,约定员工完成符合公司要求的产品开发后,公司股东将给与相应的公司股份;约定共同设立有限合伙企业,作为持股平台持有公司股权。后员工依据股权激励协议公司违约,公司依据股权激励协议要求员工交付产品和赔偿损失,目前已经至少走完程序 [2],且争议远未处理完结。

通过相关裁判文书可以看出,不同裁判机构对股权激励协议争议是否应作为劳动争议处理,观点相反,且各有其逻辑。概述如下:

一种观点主张股权激励协议相关争议属于劳动争议。根据相关裁判文书陈述,深圳市劳动仲裁委员会受理了公司提起的劳动争议仲裁申请并就实体作出裁决,表明该机构认为该案属于劳动仲裁范围;深圳市中级人民法院作出的裁决表明其持相同观点,其理由主要为:股权激励协议书性质上属于员工因需完成公司要求的工作任务而取得一定股权的股权受让协议,该协议与《劳动合同》的签订目的及工作要求一致,系对《劳动合同》在工作要求和劳动报酬方面的细化和补充。员工完成工作任务后所能获得的公司的股权,性质上属于劳动报酬,因此相关争议属于履行劳动过程中的产生的争议,相关案件属于劳动仲裁受理的劳动人事争议案件范围。

该观点在其他各地法院的裁判文书中也可见到。例如,上海金融法院在(2019)沪74民终295号上海三汰包装材料有限公司票据利益返还请求权纠纷二审民事裁定书中认定:"无论案涉'定存优惠方案'是否属于股权激励,劳动关系均是其存在的前提,而劳动关系中的报酬是一个组合概念,既包括工资、奖金,也包括福利计划和股权激励等物质激励。因此案涉'定存优惠方案'应当属于劳动法律关系规范的范畴。三汰公司与其起诉人员之间因'定存优惠方案'而发生的纠纷属于劳动纠纷,应先向劳动争议仲裁委员会申请仲裁,未经仲裁前置不得向法院提起诉讼"。

另一种观点认为股权激励争议属于民商事争议。上述深圳公司与员工纠纷处理中,深圳国际仲裁院受理相关争议并做出了实体裁决,表明该机构认为相关争议属于商事争议;福田区人民法院("福田法院")、广东省高级人民法院("广东高院")也支持该观点:福田法院(2017粵0304民初53301-53307号民事裁定书认为,虽然股权激励协议中员工履行的合同义务内容均系员工依据劳动合同提供的劳动,但是在股权激励协议中,员工获得的对价是公司股份,且支付条件可以自行约定;相关股权权利的实现是基于公司运营情况以及公司法相关规定;在股权激励协议中,双方为平等的民事主体,争议属于典型的商事纠纷。(2018)粤民再271号裁定书中广东高院还认为,《股权激励协议》从主体上看属于股权转让协议,不能视为《劳动合同》的补充协议或者组成部分。

亦有其他地方法院支持该观点。例如上海一中院在(2019)沪01民终3577号案二审民事判决书中认定:"......所谓期权,实质为公司为吸引、留住人才,激励员工共同努力,而将公司的股权(股权收益权、增值权)以一定形式授予激励对象的一种制度,其性质是人力资本所有者参与剩余分配的一种方式,其一般在被赠予股票期权时并未被确保可以得到确定的补偿金额,而是在将来通过享有的索取权去分享不确定的企业利润。就股权激励制度形成的法律关系应属于平等主体之间普通商事合同关系,应遵循《中华人民共和国合同法》、《中华人民共和国公司法》等相关法律法规的规制"等。

笔者则认为,将与股权激励(协议)相关的纠纷一概认定属于劳动关系还是民商事关系,都不够准确。依笔者在本文第一部分对劳动合同与股权激励之间法律关系的辨析,判断与股权激励协议相关纠纷性质,而应根据具体请求事项所依据的法律关系来判断,即是基于劳动关系中对劳动相关权利的主张,还是在相关劳动合同履行情况及劳动关系的权利义务已经确定的情况下基于股权关系对相关权利的主张。前者,属于劳动争议;后者,属于民商事争议;假设相关主张系关于股权的权利和义务,但是影响股权权利义务的劳动合同履行情况的事实即劳动争议尚未处理,则应中止民商事争议,先行去处理完毕劳动争议。这有些类似于离婚案件中的是否判决离婚和分割财产二者之间的关系,二者是二个法律关系,但是彼此有牵连,后者需要以前者争议的结论作为事实依据。二个法律关系合并处理效率高,但是结果不确定性大。且依据一个案件一个法律关系的案件受理原则,司法实践中除了离婚案件外,一般不合并处理。况且,员工股权激励引发的争议中,劳动争议与持股争议司法解决机制差异过大,目前还未有认可合并处理的司法实践。

三、将股权激励(协议)相关争议一概归入劳动争议观点成因分析

(一)错位理解的规定依据

目前判断劳动争议的主要依据是劳动争议调解仲裁法("调解仲裁法")第二条 [3]。从法院将股权激励(协议)相关争议一概归入劳动争议的理由来看,推想应是做了如下逻辑推演:

情形一,将整个股权激励制度(协议)全部认定为劳动合同的组成部分,从而将所涉争议全部归为调解仲裁法第二条第(二)项"因......履行......解除和终止劳动合同发生的争议"情形;

情形二,虽然股权激励制度(协议)不被认为是劳动合同的组成部分,但若股权激励被认定为用人单位为员工提供的"福利",则所涉争议可归为调解仲裁法第二条第(四)项"因......福利......发生的争议" 情形;

情形三,虽然股权激励制度或者协议不被认为是劳动合同的组成部分,但若股权激励被认定为员工的"劳动报酬"组成部分,则股权激励争议则可归为调解仲裁法第二条第(五)项"因劳动报酬......发生的争议"情形。

(二)错位理解的事实原因

在实施员工股权激励制度过程中,未厘清股权激励制度中持股关系与劳动关系的界限,是导致当事人和裁判人员对争议性质理解产生分歧的根本原因。

有的企业将本应是双方平等协商自愿参加的员工股权激励制度,变成了融资手段或者考验员工的强制性要求,入员工不按照要求认购入股,则就强制要求离职,直接将本应发放给员工的劳动报酬强制转化为员工认购股权的资金,相关做法均违背了民商事法律关系的主体平等自愿的基本要求。如果认购股权并非出自员工自愿,双方已经不是平等自愿的主体关系。

还有的企业在实施股权激励时,淡化股东义务和持股责任及风险,夸大或者承诺股权收益,将分配股权作为劳动报酬发放和福利之饼,这种情况下不仅员工包括企业都实际未完全理解股权关系与劳动关系二者法律性质的不同,甚至有些企业老板会跟员工说,不能只看工资,我还给你股权。该情形下确实会让员工甚至裁判者认定员工股权激励制度,"名为激励",实为"福利"或者"劳动报酬"。

四、降低员工股权激励争议解决风险的措施建议

鉴于上述,为减少员工股权激励事宜争议解决问题裁判观点的不确定性,可考虑从如下方面应对:

1.企业在准备进行股权激励前,企业负责人及实际控制人及管理人员,应对该制度有较为正确和深入的理解,并且根据其可接受程度,选择适当的激励方式覧道路千万条,股权激励不一定是企业必须的选择。"一个股权激励制度,如果不能触动灵魂是不能长远的。" [4]一些咨询机构在宣传服务产品过程中夸大员工股权激励的优点,让一些企业经营者误以为分出股权就能解决企业管理问题、甚至可一蹴而就地坐等企业成功;有些企业财务账册尚不规范,就拿来一套别人的文本改改就颁布施行,结果必然困难重重,争议不断。

2.员工股权激励方案应充分明确股权激励关系与劳动关系的性质区别,充分告知股权激励关系中企业与员工之间的平等地位,在实施中真正让员工自愿选择参与股权激励,享受持股权利的同时承担风险与责任。

3.员工股权激励方案中对激励人员的要求、股权回购安排等相关条件,宜清晰、明确且易于操作。例如,很多员工股权激励制度中将员工离职时有无过错与股权回购价格高低关联,而解除劳动合同往往会引发争议,股权激励做出相关安排,企业管理者就要做好准备,一旦双方对离职原因及归责这一事实有争议,如协商不成,则往往需要依据生效的法律文书对于相关事实的认定,而这一争议处理下来时间几个月深圳一年以上没有生效裁判文书,均为常见。如果企业不愿意因此影响员工离职的股权处置进度,则可以考虑将股权回购条件简化。

4.企业对员工劳动管理用工管理流程、员工股权激励管理流程以及二者之间的衔接,分别作出规定并告知员工,以作为处理依据。

5.实施股权激励制度一般应不影响原有的劳动合同的履行,劳动报酬与福利的发放,与员工缴纳认购股权资金、发放分红分开执行,各自归入相应的会计项目,账册规范清晰。

6.对股权激励处理事宜,可设置专门的管理小组或者管理委员会,管理小组中可以有企业内部管理人员、相关律师、会计师等成员,为股权激励制度的执行提供日常股权激励的咨询、事实调查、争议调解处置等事务。

7.一旦企业与员工之间发生争议诉诸法律途径解决,根据主张的请求事项所依据的是劳动关系还是股权关系,明确诉求以及依据,便于裁判人员判断。在股权激励协议中约定争议管辖的,可优先考虑在法院诉讼解决,可方便法院民商庭与劳动争议庭之间的相关信息互通。

文中引用:

[1]《民主与经济流量覧通过双因素经济开展股权持股计划革命》路易斯Oキ凯尔萨 帕特里西亚H.凯尔萨著,赵曙明译,南京大学出版社。

[2]相关内容根据公开途径查询到的裁判文书的内容梳理得出,涉及案号包括:深圳国际仲裁院华南国仲深裁[2017]D442号裁决书,深圳市福田区人民法院(2017粵0304民初53301-53307号民事裁定书,深圳市中级人民法院(2017)粤03民特818号民事裁定书、(2018)粤03民终3995-4001号劳动争议二审判决书、(2017)粤03执3148-1号合同纠纷执行实施类执行裁定书,广东省高级人民法院(2018)粤民再271号裁定书等相关裁判文书等,劳动仲裁文书文号未计入。

[3]中华人民共和国境内的用人单位与劳动者发生的下列劳动争议,适用本法:

(一)因确认劳动关系发生的争议;

(二)因订立、履行、变更、解除和终止劳动合同发生的争议;

(三)因除名、辞退和辞职、离职发生的争议;

(四)因工作时间、休息休假、社会保险、福利、培训以及劳动保护发生的争议;(五)因劳动报酬、工伤医疗费、经济补偿或者赔偿金等发生的争议;

(六)法律、法规规定的其他劳动争议。

[4]《资本与商业模式顶层设计》,郑翔洲,叶浩编著,2014年10月第1版,电子工业出版社,P159。

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Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

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Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq痴 Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq痴 Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq痴 right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions