15 July 2020
myroyalmail is updated daily

Free Shares Awards

When Royal Mail was privatised in October 2013, 100 million of the Company’s shares were set aside as Free Shares for eligible employees. This was the largest free stake of any major UK privatisation. Since then, Government has given more Free Shares to employees. In total, 12 per cent of the Company has been given to eligible employees since privatisation over four separate awards.

Under the SIP rules, you cannot sell your Free Shares until three years after they are given to you, except in certain circumstances. 

If you sell your Free Shares between three and five years after you are given them, you will have to pay income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on them. These are called ‘conditional’ shares.  

After five years, you do not have to pay income tax or NICs on the Free Shares if you sell them. These are called ‘available’ shares.

This means you will normally be able to sell your Free Shares as follows:

AwardDate of awardNumber of
Free Shares issued*

Conditional (taxable)

Available (tax-free)
SIP 201315 October 2013 61315 October 201615 October 2018
SIP 2014 9 April 20141169 April 20179 April 2019
SIP 2015 5 October 2015103 5 October 2018 5 October 2020
SIP 2016 6October 2016 81  6 October 20196 October 2021

*Based on awards to a full-time employee. Eligible part-time employees were given a proportionate, or pro-rata, number of Free Shares. 

For all documents related to the Free Shares Offers, please click here

For details of dividends paid by Royal Mail to eligible employees with Free Shares since privatisation, click here

Remember, the value of shares can go down as well as up. You may want to seek independent tax and financial advice before deciding whether to hold or sell your shares. This cannot be provided by the Company, the SIP Trustee or Equiniti.

If you decide to sell your shares, when you choose to do so will affect:

  • whether you are able to see the share price at which your shares will be sold before you commit to selling them;
  • when your shares will be sold on the stock market; and
  • when you will receive the proceeds (cash) from selling your shares.

Employee Shares Portal 

For more information on your Free Shares, please log in to your Employee Shares Portal at www.royalmailemployeeshares.co.uk. If you haven’t already done so, you can register for your account at www.royalmailemployeeshares.co.uk and an activation code will be sent to you.


You can call the free Employee Shares Helpline. It is open 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, not including UK bank holidays.