In an ideal world, when an employee’s time with your company comes to an end, you find a replacement, train them up and then say goodbye to their predecessor. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and there are some situations that it’s better for everybody to not have an employee in the office during their notice period.

In this article, the Sunny Accounting team explain what gardening leave is, when you should give it, and what that means for your employees.

What is gardening leave?

Gardening leave is another way for an employee to see out their notice period. Whether the employee hands in their resignation or you decide that they are leaving your company, they are still entitled to either give or receive a certain amount of notice.

Instead of working their notice, you can insist that the employee takes that time off outside the office. 

It is important to note that when on gardening leave, your employees must receive the same amount of pay that they are normally entitled to. Additionally, the benefits that they receive mustn’t change either.

When should you place somebody on gardening leave?

One of the more common reasons that you would place an employee on gardening leave is because they are leaving your business to join one of your competitors.

Also, if you feel that your employee would have a negative effect on the working atmosphere of your office, it might be a better option to place them on gardening leave. If there are any reasons why keeping existing staff away from the employee who is leaving is a good idea, then gardening leave should be used.

Sometimes, employees are placed on gardening leave to protect your clients. They might choose to leave with your employee if they have built up a relationship with them over an extended period of time.

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.

Can your employees apply for jobs while on gardening leave?

If you place an employee on gardening leave, they cannot start working for another company. This is because they are still bound by their contract to your company.

However, there is nothing to say that the employee cannot apply for other jobs and attend interviews, just as this is completely acceptable for any of your other employees who are not on gardening leave to do. It is worth mentioning that if your employee does breach their contract, you may be able to take legal action against them.

Is gardening leave a bad thing?

Placing an employee on gardening leave is not a bad thing. Additionally, it will have no effect on their future career prospects. There is no way that a future employer would ever know that they have been placed on gardening leave, and even if they did, it’s still not a bad thing.

Gardening leave means that you can be safe in the knowledge that you are fulfilling your contractual obligations while keeping your business’s best interests at heart. Your employee even earns a break in the meantime.

We can help?

If you would like more information about whether you should place an employee on gardening leave, get in touch with our team. Call us today on 01623 559 362 or email us on [email protected].

For a free chat on how we can help you, please complete the contact form below and we will be in touch.