Swedish fashion retailer H&M has proposed an incentive programme for its employees based on a share donation from the company's founding family.

The Stefan Persson family is to donate SEK1bn (US$140m) towards the programme, a company statement said.

All employees in the H&M Group in all countries are included in the incentive program on the same basic principle, on the basis of the amount of time worked in the company, regardless of position or salary level, it added.

The programme's qualification period will be five years, H&M said, unless local regulations stipulate otherwise. The basic principle is that payment begins when the employee turns 62, but it will also be possible for workers to choose to receive payment after ten years of employment, although no earlier than 2021.

The programme will be initiated through a donation consisting of 4,040,404 H&M shares from the Stefan Persson Family to a newly established Swedish foundation, Stiftelsen H&M Incentive Program.

H&M said it also intends to make annual contributions to the foundation, with an amount equivalent to 10% of the increase in dividend in relation to the previous year’s share dividend. The programme is to commence in 2011, providing a resolution is adopted at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 20 October 2010.