ROYAL Mail workers have benefited by more than £380,000 after receiving free shares in the company.
In Leek, 51 members of staff have received shares to the value of £180,800 In neighbouring Cheadle, 57 members of staff received approximately £202,000 in shares.
News of the allocations comes after the controversial sale of shares in the company by the Government.
Although the value of the shares sold was around £3.3 billion, critics claim the value achieved for taxpayers could have been £5 billion.
Each eligible full-time employee in Royal Mail was entitled to 725 free shares with an initial market value of £3,545.25.
Under HMRC rules, the maximum amount of free shares which can be allocated to an individual employee in any tax year is £3,000.
Due to the strong performance of Royal Mail shares, this limit has been exceeded.
The 613 shares worth £2,997.57 at the closing mid-price on October 15 2013 have been awarded to each eligible full-time employee as their 2013 Share Incentive Plan (SIP) allocation.
Royal Mail intends to allocate the remaining 112 surplus shares to individual full-time employees as soon as possible in the next tax year as a 2014 SIP allocation.
Eligible part-time employees will also receive their free shares in two allocations.
Free shares have automatically been placed in a tax-advantaged, HM Revenue and Customsapproved Share Incentive Plan for eligible employees.
Employees must hold their free shares in the SIP for at least three years before they can be sold, except in certain circumstances.
Less than 0.5 per cent of around 150,000 of eligible full-time and part-time Royal Mail employees based in the UK chose to opt out of receiving free shares.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Approximately 150,000 eligible Royal Mail employees have chosen to receive free shares in the company.
“Each of the full-time eligible employees has been given the same number of shares, regardless of their grade, with part-time employees given shares on a prorata basis based on their paid hours between July 10, 2013, and October 13, 2013.
“Eligible employees have been given their shares through an HMRC-approved, tax-advantaged SIP. During this time, employees who have received free shares will be eligible to receive any dividends Royal Mail may pay.
“After three years, employees can sell their free shares or transfer them out of the SIP but will pay income tax and National Insurance on the shares.
“After five years, no income tax or National Insurance needs to be paid on the free shares if sold.”
Eligible employees were guaranteed 10 per cent of shares in Royal Mail, more than in any other UK privatisation for almost 30 years.
It is the largest free allocation of shares of any major UK privatisation.
Just over 100 million shares were reserved for the free shares offer.