Garden leave is used as a protective measure by businesses. It can prevent the risk of confidential information being passed on to a competitor when an employee leaves the business, helping to ensure the continued success of the organisation.
Below, we explain exactly what garden leave involves, when it should be used by a business, and how to put a leaving employee on garden leave.
Garden leave, sometimes also known as gardening leave, is when a leaving employee is asked to not attend the workplace or perform any of their duties during their notice period. It can be used for an employee who has resigned, been made redundant, or been dismissed.
The employee will still be contractually employed by the organisation. This means the employer will be obliged to provide the usual salary as well as any benefits during this period. However, the employee will be asked not to do any of their work or communicate with any colleagues or clients, either from home or the place of work. They may, however, be required to provide information or assistance to the employer during the period.
Garden leave is commonly used to prevent data leaks. It is often used for senior roles who may have access to more confidential or sensitive information – asking them not to work during their garden leave period removes their access to this sort of information. This means there is less risk of it being misused.
It can also be used to reduce the risk of employees ‘poaching’ clients or suppliers to take with them to their next role. Garden leave can bring a business peace of mind if an employee who has access to a number of important clients will be moving on to work with a competitor.
It’s important to bear in mind the cost of putting an employee on garden leave, especially those in a senior role. The business should weigh up the benefits of avoiding a data leak with the cost of paying an employee that will not be working during the garden leave period.
When it comes to managing employee issues like putting employees on garden leave, having an HR department is crucial. HR professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to handle employee-related matters effectively and efficiently. By relying on HR to manage employee issues, businesses can ensure that all procedures are carried out in accordance with legal requirements and best practices. This can help prevent potential legal issues and disputes that could harm both employees and the business.
Additionally, HR can offer guidance and support to employees during difficult situations, creating a positive workplace culture that prioritizes employee well-being. Ultimately, the importance of HR in managing employee issues cannot be overstated, and businesses that prioritize HR are more likely to succeed in the long run.
If you want the option to put employees on garden leave, a clause must be included in their employee contract. Otherwise, you may not be able to retain the employee whilst also preventing them from attending work.
If your employee has signed a contract that includes a garden leave clause, you will be able to place them on garden leave once they have handed in their notice, or if they have been dismissed with a notice period, or if they have been made redundant.
You will have to put the formal garden leave arrangement in writing to the employee, and you should ensure any wording matches the clause in the employee contract. The correspondence should set out what will be expected of the employee, including:
While garden leave can be an effective measure to protect a business from data leaks and client poaching, it’s important to remember that employee grievances can still arise. Addressing employee grievances in a timely and fair manner is crucial to maintaining a positive workplace culture and avoiding potential legal issues. If an employee raises a grievance, it’s important to hold a grievance meeting to address their concerns and find a resolution.
If your company needs HR and recruitment support, Vero HR can help. We can provide you with dedicated HR services to effectively manage your workforce and assist with recruitment and employment law. Contact us to find out how we can help your business.