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Garden Leave

Garden Leave or Gardening Leave

I am now going to discuss with you garden leave or Gardening Leave - they mean the same. Any employee who is not required to work but is sent home and is still receiving normal salary is on garden leave. This is different to being suspended on pay. You can only suspend on pay when there are investigations into disciplinary matters.

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If you are being put on Garden Leave then you should be very careful as we often see people that are put on Garden Leave initially and then their employer looks to find ways to fire them on other grounds and avoid paying their notice salary and benefits. Even worse than this we also see people that have not fully understood their terms in their contract and "gather" useful information for their new role and can then face a very messy and expensive legal dispute with their employer. This often gets so messy that the new employer withdraws the job offer and you can be left in limbo with no job, no new job and a pending court case. To avoid all of this it is very worthwhile to get some legal advice and guidance on what you can and cannot do. You should carefully read your employment contract and ensure that you do not breach any of the terms. You are normally put on garden leave if you are moving to a competitor or starting a competing business and you may be tempted to take useful information from your existing employer - be careful. To avoid any disasters the best approach is to get some advice and help avoid all of the pitfalls.

We have pages to help you choose good employment law solicitors, see our Employment Law Solicitors page.

From seeing thousands of cases we also see that someone being put on garden leave will also be often asked to sign a Compromise Agreement. You can see specific information on compromise agreements on our compromise agreement pages. However in relation to being on garden leave AND being asked to sign a compromise agreement we see that employers do this to secure more contracual control over you - beyond what is in your existing employment contract. We have seen many people just sign these with little thought to get out quickly and onto their new job - this is usually a huge mistake. You do not want to agree to a contract that may seriously restrict you in your new role - it could even make you fail at your new role if for example you cannot talk to existing contacts for more than a year! Your employer will likely try and add all sorts of innocent sounding clauses to see what they can get you to agree to. You must ask yourself - why is my soon to be ex employer trying to get me to sign an even more restrictive contract? As part of the Compromise Agreement process your employer will pay for you to get a solicitor to advise you on the Compromise Agreement - BUT many times we see people just picking a general solicitor randomly from the phonebook and this can be disasterous. Why? At this point your employer will be using an experienced employment law solicitor (if they have half a brain). For normal general High Street solicitors a Compromise Agreement is easy money. The normal High Street solicitor is Jack of all trades and does house sales, speeding motorists, drunk drivers, neighbour disputes and knows a little bit about many topics. You would be foolish to not use a specialist experienced employment expert at this point. The employer is obligated to your legal fee for the Compromise ageement, normally its £300-£500 and so you should ensure that you choose an experienced employment law solicitor. If you just choose a Jack of all Trades High street solicitor then they will not have enough experince to ensure you get the best deal. in most cases they are keen to get it signed up and completed as quickly as possible. If you could make £500 for a few minutes work - I am sure you would too? However what you need at this point is someone who specialises in employment law and compromise agreements. They will know all of the tricks and pitfalls and explain them and steer you away from them. In addition the few solicitors that are very switched on will be able to play the game to your advantage.

Your employer will likely try and add in every known restrictive clause and an experienced employment solicitor will know which ones are completely unacceptable and reject them as they will know the potentially disasterous consequences of leaving them in. In addition to the negative aspect of these agreements, they can also have a huge upside. Your soon to be ex employer is asking you to sign up to more restrictive terms and why would you do this? You can often negotiate significantly improved payments as your incentive to sign a Compromise Agreement. Many years ago I worked for a large technology company and had resigned to go to a new role at a competitor. They put me on Garden Leave to serve out my notice and then pushed me to sign a Compromise Agreement. The conclusion of this was that they paid me an extra £30,000 to sign an agreement that had almost no extra restrictions over my existing employment contract and did not hinder me in any way in my new role. It was only by getting expert legal advice that I was able to achive this. Accordingly I would strogly suggest that you also get a good experienced employment lawyer to help you. If you provide your details below, we can put you in contact with someone who can help you also. Please complete a Claim Evaluator so that we have all the information that we need to help.

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You can buy it on Amazon for just £5 and keep it on your Kindle, iPhone or PC. You can buy it here -

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Normally Gardening Leave occurs where the employer wants to protect the Company’s position in relation to restrictive covenants. For example, if you have just got a job with a competitor, you give them notice and the employer is concerned to ensure that you do not pass or gain information that could be useful to a competitor. Whilst an employee is on garden leave, he is still subject to the terms of his Contract of Employment because he is still being paid. Therefore, if the employer wishes he can be required to return to work, give information about work or do work on the requirement of his employer.

We have just written a new book about employment law.
You can buy it on Amazon for just £5 and keep it on your Kindle, iPhone or PC. You can buy it here -
Employment Law: A Simple Guide Book to your Rights


In lieu of notice

A difficulty occurs in relation to garden leave in distinguishing it against paying someone in lieu of notice which is referred to in shorthand as pilon. When someone is put on notice, the Contract of Employment continues to exist unless they are paid in lieu of notice. Paying someone in lieu of notice is paying them up to the completion of the Contract normally for the notice period and that effectively terminates the Contract on the day that someone is told that they are no longer required to be an employee and are paid in lieu of notice. Paying in lieu of notice releases the employee immediately and means their effective date of termination will be the date the notice is given whereas putting someone on garden leaves means they continue during the period of notice to be an employee and subject to the Contract of Employment.

There have been a number of cases where someone is put on garden leave for a long period, particularly if their notice is for more than 3 months. Sometimes, that person’s skills require them to be able to continue to work or their skills will deteriorate.

If you are facing redundancy visit our redundancy pages.

If you are being unfairly Dismissed, visit our Unfair Dismissal pages.

If you are being disrciminated against due to race, visit our Race Discrimination pages.

If you are considering going to an Employment Tribunal then see our Employment Tribunal pages

If you are facing Constructive Dismissal, visit our Constructive Dismissal pages.

If you are losing your job due to Misconduct or Gross Misconduct, visit our Misconduct or Gross Misconduct pages.

If you are losing your job due to Capability then visit our Capability pages

If you think you may be suffering from disability discrimination then visit our disability discrimination pages

If you are being asked to sign a Compromise Agreement, then visit our Compromise Agreement pages.

In conclusion, in relation to garden leave, it is important you obtain advice in relation to what your Terms and Conditions are during garden leave for example, you are not permitted to obtain other work or do other work while you are on garden leave because you are acting in breach of your Contract of Employment by doing so.

The site author/owner has endeavoured to give clear information to benefit the reader. The information is no substitute for obtaining specific advice about any claim you may have from a person qualified to give it. The examples, and circumstances described etc bear no relation to any actual case and any resemblance to real circumstances is purely accidental and unintentional. The site author/owner accepts no liability for any mistake, error or inconsistency in the text and the reader should ALWAYS OBTAIN specific advice about his/her own situation. In order to assist the reader, you can give your details so that a qualified advisor can call you free of charge and assist you further via CLAIM EVALUATOR