Garden Leave

Garden Leave: What It Is, Working, Pros & Cons, And More

Corporate 30 December 2023 5 Mins Read

Garden Leave (or gardening leave) is a period in which a company tells an employee to stay away from work. It mostly happens after an employee has resigned from the post or is under termination. An employee gets this type of leave only during a transition period. During this period, despite retaining employment, the employee does not perform work (which is the company’s demand).

In this article, you will learn about garden leaves in general and the major aspects of a garden leave. Apart from that, you will also learn how a garden leave works for an employee. In addition to that, we will also share with you the major pros and cons of this leave. Finally, we will guide you on how to use a garden leave for yourself. Hence, to learn more, read on through to the end of the article.

What Is A Garden Leave?

According to Indeed.com,

Garden leave, also known as gardening leave, is a transition period when an employee doesn’t come to work or works remotely during their notice period. Typically, this happens as a result of their employer’s request. Gardening leave may refer to both employees who have resigned and those whose employment terminated for other reasons.

When an employee secures this leave, then the employee:

  1. Does not perform any work related to the job role despite retaining employment.
  2. Does not visit the company’s premises.
  3. Refrain from contacting any member of the organization.
  4. does not use any company equipment.

In general, the employee remains away from the workplace despite having the employment. In some cases, the company might also ask the employee to work remotely. This happens when the employee is in the process of termination of employment. However, the employee still remains on the payroll and gets the right payment for the hours/ days.

Furthermore, under the leave, the employee does not get the allowance to work for either the company or its competitors. Meanwhile, the current employer keeps the employee on the payroll until the notice period ends. However, as a protectionist measure, the company keeps the employee away from the workplace.

How Does A Garden Leave Work?

How Does A Garden Leave Work

According to Investopedia,

Garden leave is a protectionist measure used by an employer when an employee is terminated or when they tender their resignation. Once in effect, it often prevents the employee from being involved in any work activity for their current employer, and typically restricts them from either taking on another job or working for themselves. An employee is generally likely to spend their time pursuing hobbies.”

On the surface, the term might sound pleasant, as every employee prefers to spend their notice time relaxing. However, the negative implications and the restrictive nature of the leave make garden leaves disruptive for the career of an employee.

Often, garden leaves act as a euphemism for suspension. Hence, many people perceive this leave to have a negative connotation for the employee. Here, it might show that the employee is unfit for work and is only fit enough to tend the garden.

Apart from that, a garden leave also acts similarly to a non-compete clause. As per this clause, an employee cannot work for any competitor of the company. The time for the effect of this clause is up-to the time till the employment ends.

The primary reason why some companies do so is interesting. Mainly, companies want to provide a safeguard against possible behavior or detrimental actions from the employee, which is quite possible during the notice period.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Garden Leaves?

In the United States, garden leaves are not quite common. This is because of the strong employment regulations and norms in the country. It is mostly prevalent in the United Kingdom. The following are the major pros and cons of garden leaves:

Pros Of Garden Leave 

Here are the major pros of garden leaves for an organization:

  1. The company will be able to protect its interests.
  2. Employees of the company stay away from working for competitors during the notice period. This is because there have been instances when an employee might take sensitive information outside.
  3. It also helps ease the employee’s transition. Hence, the employee will be able to wrap up work and prepare for a new role.
  4. Employees also get the time to rest at home and free time to prepare for a new role.

Cons Of Garden Leave

Here are a few cons of garden leaves for an organization that you must be aware of:

  1. A garden leave can be costly for the company too. Here, the company is paying employees despite the employee not working.
  2. An employee might feel undervalued or frustrated while staying away from work.
  3. The employee might even challenge the practice of the company in court due to unfairness.

Garden Leave: How Much Legal Is It?

Investopedia adds –

During a garden leave, it is typical for an employee to be prevented from accessing the employer’s data and computer system, and to be prohibited from contacting clients, suppliers, or fellow employees. The employee will usually be required to return company property such as laptops, smartphones, or vehicles during this period.”

Although garden leaves are legal in the United States, a company must consider their suitability based on circumstances. A company must use garden leaves when a worker’s employment term is towards its end. Furthermore, the company must also consider the implications of the employee’s departure.

A company should also be mindful of applying a garden leave to an important employee. In some cases, the company also needs to consider whether it is legally applicable or not. However, during garden leaves, an employee is fully entitled to salary and benefits. However, the employee might not be eligible for bonuses or accrual payments.

Final Thoughts

Hope this article was helpful for you in getting a better understanding of how garden leaves work for businesses. If an employer wants to apply for garden leave for an employee, it needs to consider various legal factors. Also, it is important to remain mindful of whether garden leave is really required or not.

What is your opinion on garden leaves? Consider sharing your opinions with us in the comments section below.

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A passionate writer and an avid reader, Soumava is academically inclined and loves writing on topics requiring deep research. Having years of content writing experience, Soumava also loves creating blogs in other domains, including digital marketing, business, technology, travel, and sports.

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