Garden leave or gardening leave is the practice whereby an employer will pay their employee during their notice period but prohibit the employee to not enter the business grounds. Garden leave is usually more common for those who have more responsibility, value or company information. Such as senior members, those who have more technical responsibilities, who have information to the company’s strategy or customer contacts.
The intended use of gardening leave is to slow down, prevent or keep the employee out of work long enough for any information they have regarding their company to go out of date, lose value or become inaccurate to stop the employee passing on competitive information on to a new employer. The practice is usually in combination with other restrictive covenants in an aim to prevent the employee from contacting or trying to use the employers or business contacts and clients for themselves or for future employment.
Employer must continue to pay employees on gardening leave and the employee must adhere to their conditions of employment, such as data privacy and confidentiality, until, at least the employee has completed their notice period. General, an employer can place an employee on gardening for the whole of the employee notice period, but in some situations, such as the employee having an unusually longer notice period the employer many not be able to place the employee on garden leave for the full term. In this situation, it is likely a court will only allow the employee to be put on garden leave as long is appropriate to protect the employer. Garden leave is different from a paid suspension, which is used when an employee is forbidden or prohibited from entering the workplace, access company information, data or business contacts whilst they are pending disciplinary proceedings.