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Generally, when something that is promised is delivered and ownership is officially granted to the recipient. For employees, shares generally vest according a predetermined schedule. Vesting effectively means that employees only receive their equity compensation after a period of employment to ensure alignment of interest between the company and the employee. The current market standard for vesting schedules is 4 years with a one-year "cliff". Typically, this means that 25% of the grant will vest after one year, and the balance will vest in equal monthly installments over the following 36 months. See our blog post on vesting schedules for additional information.
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