Amazon Restricted Stock Units

Recently we created an interesting Amazon price prediction for 2021. However, we didn’t talk about Amazon restricted stocks units, RSU.

Amazon Restricted Stock Units

Amazon restricted stock unit or RSU share represents vested shares where the Amazon employee will get a stake in the company. Still, the stake will have no value until the completed vesting process. Since the vested units are income for the employee, some shares may be used for paying income tax. The other shares will be transferred to the employee, who can sell them if he wishes.


Do Amazon employees get stock?

Yes, employees in Amazon that work above 30 hours per week can get Amazon restricted stock unit (RSU) shares in the following way:

Year 1: Amazon base pay + sign-on
Year 2: Amazon base pay + sign-on
Year 3: Amazon base Pay + RSU
Year 4: Amazon base Pay + RSU

Some employers offer compensation to their employees in restricted stock units (RSU), which form company shares. For the eligible employee, a distribution and vesting plan is defined, which specified the performance milestones that the employees should achieve or the duration for which the employee will remain with the company. Though the employee will get a stake in the company, the stake will have no value until the completed vesting process. The RSUs have the market value after they are vested.

Amazon Restricted Stock Units Features

Companies are using different ways to compensate their employees, and RSUs give the employee a stake in the business. There are restrictions on RSUs during the specified vesting period, which may vary since the shares cannot be sold during this period. After the vesting period is over, they are just like other shares of the company. While the warrants or stock options may expire without any value, the value RSUs will vary, depending on the share price. For tax calculations, the income for the year in which RSUs are vested should include the value of all vested RSUs

Restricted Stock Units History

In the mid-2000s, major accounting scandals were featuring large companies like Worldcom and Enron. After these scandals, companies started preferring RSUs for compensating their employees, especially senior executives, instead of stock options. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in 2004 has made it mandatory for companies to treat the stock options offered as an accounting expense to make it similar to equity. Due to tax evasion, malpractice, scandals, fewer companies chose stock options for retaining and attracting talent after 2004. Instead, RSUs, which were earlier offered to senior management employees, were also offered to other employee levels. From 2003 to 2005, the number of stock options granted by each of the Fortune 1000 firms declined by approximately 40%, while the number of RSUs issued increased by 41%.

Amazon employee stock benefits

RSUs are popular since they give the employee the incentive to remain with the company for a longer time, helping improve its performance so that the share value increases. Employees who hold shares until the RSU allocation is complete will also receive capital gains if share price increases, though some shares may be withheld for paying income tax and taxes on the capital gain. Employees prefer RSUs since the administration costs are lower since no shares have to be tracked, recorded. The company can differ in issuing shares till the vesting schedule is completed, so the dilution of shares is delayed.

Amazon gives a fixed yearly bonus at the beginning of the work year, which is not performance-related. You get the bonus when you start, then at every anniversary.

Restricted Stock Units Limitations

  • Because, at the end of 2nd year, when the sign-on disappears, the base pay would not be the same as CTC in the first year
  • Amazon employees don’t get a hike on sign-on bonus if you go to a new company.
  • RSUs are heavily market risk dependent.

RSUs do not pay dividends since actual shares are not allocated. In some cases, the employer can choose to pay the equivalent of a dividend into an escrow account. This amount can be used for paying taxes or reinvested to purchase more shares. The Internal Revenue Code has section 1244, which controls the taxation of restricted shares. The RSU is included in gross income for calculating taxes from the date when the vesting date when the shares become transferable. Employees cannot pay taxes before the vesting date since they are not considered tangible property by the IRS. The RSUs do not have voting rights till the vesting date. If the employee leaves the company before the vesting date, the remaining shares are forfeited to the issuing company.

Other information

RSUs are used extensively to help companies retain their employees since they can make a good profit if the company’s share prices increase due to its success. In stock options, the price specified is often higher than the market price, so the employee will benefit only if the company share price rises quickly. He can also choose not to purchase shares. In comparison, for RSUs, the employee will receive a fixed amount of shares after remaining with the company for a specified time period. This is clearly defined, so he is always going to benefit. Till they are converted to common shares, PSUs do not have voting rights and do not pay dividends in most cases.



Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on:

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