Golden handcuffs

Golden handcuffs are a system of financial incentives designed to keep an employee from leaving the company. These can include employee stock options which will not vest for several years but are more often contractual obligations to give back lucrative bonuses or other compensation if the employee leaves for another company.

Golden handcuffs are a response by the companies in industries where it is common for highly compensated employees to frequently move from one firm to another, often before the company feels that it has earned a return on the investment in the employee.

Some US courts have held such plans to violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to vest benefits.
* Serio v. Wachovia 2007 Lexis 63341 (D. N.J. 2007)
* Holzer v. Prudential 458 F. Supp. 2d 587 (N.D. Ill. 2006) 2006 Lexis 73049
* McKinsey v. Sentry 986 F. 2d 401 (10th Cir. 1993) 1993 Lexis 2865
* Holansky v. Prudential 2004 Lexis 1419 (N.D. Ill. 2004)

In television, if a host has signed the 'golden handcuffs' deal with the network, it means they cannot appear on any other rival channel. An example of this would be British television hosts Ant & Dec.

More broadly, the term can also refer to any kind of situation in which a generous salary is used to keep an important employee from looking for a more desirable but less certain position.

ee also

* Golden handshake
* Golden parachute


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • golden handcuffs — A payment to induce a candidate to join, or an existing employee to remain in, employment. See also golden hello. Related links golden handshake Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. www.practicallaw.com.… …   Law dictionary

  • golden handcuffs — n [plural] informal things such as a large ↑salary or a good ↑pension that make important workers want to continue working for an organization, rather than leave to work for a competing organization …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • golden handcuffs — noun plural BUSINESS ways of trying to stop a senior manager in a company from leaving their job, by offering a lot of money if they stay and making them lose money if they leave …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Golden Handcuffs — A collection of financial incentives that are intended to encourage employees to remain with a company. Golden handcuffs are offered by employers to existing employees as a means of holding onto key employees and increasing employee retention… …   Investment dictionary

  • golden handcuffs — A contract that binds a broker to a brokerage firm by offering the broker commissions and bonuses, but penalizes the broker if he or she goes to work for another firm. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * * golden handcuffs ˌgolden ˈhandcuffs noun… …   Financial and business terms

  • golden handcuffs — a series of raises, bonuses, etc., given at specified intervals or tied to length of employment so as to keep an executive from leaving the company. [1985 90] * * * noun [plural] : the salary and benefits that stop a highly paid employee from… …   Useful english dictionary

  • golden handcuffs — n. monetary inducements to stay on the job. (Usually for highly paid executives in large corporations. See also golden parachute.) D The company provided a variety of golden handcuffs to keep its execs happy through a takeover. □ The golden… …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • golden handcuffs — n. Attractive financial benefits that a corporate employee will lose by resigning from the company. Example Citation: The lures include signing bonuses; so called golden handcuffs, such as bonuses that are not payable until the end of a year or… …   New words

  • golden handcuffs — noun Any arrangement or agreement designed to provide extremely favorable benefits or pay, so as to discourage participant from wanting to leave, especially to retain a choice employee. The stock plan really served as golden handcuffs for the… …   Wiktionary

  • golden handcuffs — financial arrangements given by a company to an important employee in order to influence them to stay with the company. Share options are offered to top executives as golden handcuffs …   New idioms dictionary


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