If your company offers an ESOP, or employee stock ownership plan, you own shares of the company's stock as part of your retirement benefits. However, if you quit, you only will receive the amount of stock that has been vested, or completely given to you during your tenure. When you quit, you will have to wait for the company to distribute the stock to you, up to six years. Once your shares are available for distribution, you can request the cash value of the shares.
Look at your last ESOP statement. The statement should show you how many shares you have that are fully vested, as well as the date that other shares will become vested.
Check the ESOP statement for information on how long until the shares can be distributed. If you can't find it, you can contact your human resources office at the company or the ESOP management group to find out when the shares will be available.
Request the distribution forms from the ESOP company. These forms will transfer the shares from the control of the ESOP to you. You will need to fill out the forms completely and sign them.
Sell the shares using your broker or online brokerage house if you wish to transfer the vested stock to cash.
The company is not required to release vested shares from an employee who quits for six years, and you will not be able to use the shares until they are released to you.
- National Center for Employee Ownership: How an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Works
- National Center for Employee Ownership: http://www.nceo.org/articles/esop-vesting-distribution-diversification
- National Center for Employee Ownership: ESOP Repurchase Obligation Insights
- Internal Revenue Service. "4.72.4 Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)." Accessed Oct. 19, 2020.
- United States Code. "From Title 26-Internal Revenue Code, Subtitle A-Income Taxes, Chapter 1-Normal Taxes and Surtaxes, Subchapter O-Gain or Loss on Disposition of Property, Part III-Common Nontaxable Exchanges, §1042. Sales of Stock to Employee Stock Ownership Plans or Certain Cooperatives." Accessed Oct. 19, 2020.
- The company is not required to release vested shares from an employee who quits for six years, and you will not be able to use the shares until they are released to you.