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Garden Leave

Reviewed by John CarvalhoCheckmark

What Does Garden Leave Mean?

Garden leave is the practice by which an employee, who is leaving the job, is asked to stay away from work during the notice period. Typically, any employees who want to quit or are terminated for a specific reason have to work during a notice period. This period can be anywhere between one to three months depending on the employment policies of each organization. During this entire period, the employee is still subject to the terms of his or her employment contract.

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Divestopedia Explains Garden Leave

Garden leave, also known as gardening leave, is used by employers to prevent an employee from being privy to confidential or sensitive information. This is the reason that they are asked to stay away from work, but are still paid their full salary. This practice is common when an employee is quitting his or her job to join a competitor firm, and is used by the employer to ensure that the leaving employee does not leak confidential information to its competitors. During this period, access to certain information is highly restricted or sometimes even blocked altogether.

Sometimes, employers may ask employees to take a garden leave on certain grounds. The exact period of garden leave and the circumstances under which it is implemented differ from organization to organization. In most cases, the specifics are listed in the employment agreement so that it makes sense for employees to thoroughly understand the procedure before accepting the employment offer. In general, employees are prohibited from the following activities during a garden leave:

  • Not making statements to the media on behalf of the company.
  • Being asked to take any outstanding leave.
  • Being subject to the contractual duties and obligations as laid down in the employment contract.
  • Being restricted from talking to clients, suppliers and other stakeholders without prior consent from the upper management.

In some cases, garden leave can be used as an excuse to change the role of an employee or to find grounds on which the employee can be fired. In such cases, it makes sense for employees to take legal advice on their future course of action.

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