In today’s world, it is rare for one person to enter the workforce after school and stay with the same company until retirement. There is a natural progression through life in which people develop new skills or change interests, altering his or her career path. In this scenario and depending on your field of work, you may be subject to something called gardening leave.
What Is Gardening Leave?
Gardening leave, also known as ‘garden leave’ in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, is a way in which employers protect themselves and their company. In other countries, it is termed ‘administrative leave’.
Once an employee has resigned or been dismissed and put on gardening leave, the employee still receives a salary and benefits during the notice, but need not come to work. While in some cases, these employees may still need to be available for queries or paperwork, in most cases the employee will not do any work during this period. To prevent the former employee from releasing confidential information or influencing the company in any other way, the employee may not use company resources (such as computers, cars, etc) or contact anybody within the company.
When Is Gardening Leave Used?
Gardening leave is most commonly used either in the financial sector or when an employee is moving between competing companies. In these cases, the former employer has an interest in protecting the confidentiality of their clients and upcoming projects from the employee and his or her future employer. Gardening leave may also be used when an employee has built up a considerable client base at the former place of employment.
In these cases, the employee will stay as a staff member to answer questions when called upon so that during his or her gardening leave, clients can comfortably be transferred to new employees within the company. In each case, gardening leave is instituted to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. The end goal of gardening leave is to allow for the smoothest possible transition for all parties involved.
Breach Of Contract
Gardening leave is called such because it is a time to pursue other hobbies – such as gardening – as opposed to working. It is important to carefully read the terms of your contract as it relates to gardening leave to ensure there is absolutely no form of work being done. In the case of a breach of contract from the employee, the employer may no longer be obligated to pay you or extend other previously agreed upon benefits during this time.
Gardening leave should be used as a break period whilst moving from one job to another. It is a time to develop a fresh start for your next job and protect the confidentiality of your previous employer. In order to optimise this time it is important to review the terms of your contract with your employer to allow for an easy transition between jobs. Change can be a good thing and must be embraced as such.
Need Help Stipulating The Terms Of Gardening Leave In Your Company?
Then book a free Startup Legal Session with us and we’ll get you on the right track and ensure your terms are legally valid.