Gardening Leave Explained for Employers

Gardening Leave Explained for Employers

Hopefully, when an employee hands in their resignation, it won’t disrupt your workplace or upset the apple cart in any way. If that is the case, you can go about finding a replacement, train them up, and, on their leaving day, wish your previous employee the best of luck with their future plans. This rosy picture isn’t always what happens though.

Sometimes it’s for the best that the employee who resigns isn’t around the office during their notice period. This might be for staff morale, to keep information secure, or even to keep the employee from learning too much about a new project before they leave.

Whatever the reason, gardening leave might well be the solution. In this article, Smart Team will investigates gardening leave.


What is gardening leave?

Gardening leave is usually given to an employee who has handed in their resignation and is taken in place of working their notice.

When an employee resigns, their contract will usually state that they will continue to need to work for you for a short amount of time before they finally leave their post. Gardening leave replaces this working time with what is essentially an additional holiday.

During gardening leave, your employees have the right to earn the same amount of pay as they normally would as well asany other contractual benefits and bonuses that they would otherwise be entitled to.


When is gardening leave taken?

Employees can be given gardening leave for a variety of reasons. Typically, it is because the employee is leaving your business to go and work for one of your competitors. If the employee would be able to access confidential and sensitive information as a part of their job whilst working their notice, then you might place them on gardening leave to ensure confidentiality.

Additionally, if the employee could learn something private about your business that they could tell their new employers about, then it might be the strategic option to place them on gardening leave.

Gardening leave is also used to discourage the employee from persuading others in joining them with their resignation. This applies to both your other staff members, and your clients.


The terms of a gardening leave contract

When you place an employee on gardening leave, there are several factors that you might want to consider, including:

  • Which employees they are allowed to communicate with,
  • Which suppliers they are allowed to communicate with,
  • What data they are allowed access to,
  • How long the leave is fair,
  • Whether they need to take the remainder of their annual leave.

Additionally, you might want to consider allowing the employee to stay and train their replacement if both parties believe that it would be a preferable alternative to gardening leave.


Applying for jobs while on gardening leave

Any employee placed on gardening leave cannot start working for another company immediately. This is because they are still covered by their contract to you.

With that being said, there is nothing stopping them from applying for jobs and going to interviews during the course of their gardening leave. The same rules that apply for your regular employees apply to those on gardening leave in this respect.


Can gardening leave harm my employee’s career chances?

The short answer is no. There will be no record of the employee being placed on gardening leave, and even if there was such a record – it’s not a bad thing.

Gardening leave provides your business with the peace of mind that your other employees and clients are safe while your employee makes their transition into their new role at another firm. Simultaneously, the employee gets some additional time off work that they wouldn’t normally have received.


We can help?

Gardening leave isn’t perfect – particularly if your staff member is in a sales role, there can be a disruption to your flow of business. If someone important to your business leaves, it may be time to look at reducing your outgoings to preserve cash in the bank. For help with financial planning in this type of situation, please call us today on 01202 577 500 or email us at

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