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Gardening Leave


Gardening leave, also known as garden leave, is a practice in which an employee who is leaving a job, either due to resignation or termination, is instructed not to work during their notice period. During this time, they continue to receive their salary and benefits but are not allowed to begin work at a new company. The purpose of gardening leave is to protect sensitive company information and prevent the departing employee from sharing it with competitors.


The phonetic pronunciation of ‘Gardening Leave’ is: ˈɡɑrdənɪŋ liv

Key Takeaways

  1. Gardening Leave refers to a period during which an employee is asked to stay away from work, usually after submitting their resignation or being terminated, without actually reporting to their workplace. During this time, the employee continues to receive their regular salary and benefits.
  2. The purpose of Gardening Leave is to protect the employer’s interests. By asking the employee to stay away from work, the employer aims to prevent the employee from gaining access to sensitive information, potentially using it to benefit their new employer or reveal trade secrets. Additionally, it can serve as a non-compete period, preventing the employee from immediately joining a competitor.
  3. From the employee’s perspective, Gardening Leave provides a timeframe to relax, plan, and prepare for their next career move. It can serve as a helpful transition period, allowing them to focus on personal and professional development without having to worry about their financial stability.


Gardening Leave is an important business/finance term as it refers to a practice wherein an employee, typically in a senior or sensitive position, is asked not to report to work during their notice period after resigning or being terminated from their job. These employees continue to receive their normal pay and benefits during this time. This concept is crucial for several reasons: it helps protect intellectual property, trade secrets, and confidential information from being taken to a competitor; it reduces potential negative influence on existing staff and clients due to the departing employee; and it allows the company time to implement succession plans and smoothly transition responsibilities to a successor. In essence, Gardening Leave aids in safeguarding the organization’s best interests, maintaining stability, and ensuring a seamless changeover in order to safeguard its competitive position.


Gardening leave, a concept that originated in the United Kingdom, refers to a period during which an employee is required to stay away from the workplace and not carry out any work-related duties, while still receiving their full salary and benefits. This typically occurs when an employee has resigned, is serving their notice period, or has been terminated but awaits enforcement of their termination. The purpose of gardening leave is to protect both the company’s interests and the employee’s transition into their notice period or new endeavor.

The primary rationale for gardening leave is to safeguard sensitive company information and intellectual property by maintaining minimal exposure to individuals who will soon be absent from the company, especially if they are heading to a competitor. During this interval, the departing employee remains contractually bound by their company, thus restricting them from sharing confidential information or wooing clients away. Additionally, gardening leave is utilized to ensure that client relationships can be smoothly transitioned to other employees, and it deters the departing employee from having a negative impact on colleagues and client relationships. Overall, gardening leave serves as a vital tool for maintaining the stability and integrity of a company during periods of employee transition.


Gardening leave, also known as garden leave, is a practice in which an employee, typically one in a sensitive or key position, is given notice of their termination and placed on paid leave for the duration of their notice period. This is usually done to prevent the employee from taking sensitive information or competitive advantage to their new employer. Here are three real-world examples of gardening leave situations:

1. Investment Banking: In 2017, Credit Suisse imposed gardening leave on its senior investment banker, Mike Di Iorio. He had already resigned from his role as co-head of the European Trading Team at the bank and was about to join Barclays. During Di Iorio’s gardening leave, he was not allowed to join his new employer or access any confidential information from Credit Suisse.

2. Media and Broadcasting: In 2018, BBC radio presenter Eddie Mair resigned from the network to join its competitor, LBC. The BBC imposed a gardening leave requirement on Mair, preventing him from joining LBC until his contract with the BBC had expired. This was done to avoid Mair sharing the BBC’s future plans or sensitive broadcasting information with LBC.

3. Technology Industry: In 2014, Apple imposed a six-month gardening leave on its former employee, Steve Zadesky, who resigned to join Tesla. Apple wanted to ensure that Zadesky could not take any competitive information or technological know-how to his new role at Tesla. During his garden leave, Zadesky was not allowed to join Tesla and was restricted from disclosing any confidential information from his time at Apple.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Gardening Leave?

Gardening Leave, also known as “garden leave,” is a term used in the finance and business industries to describe a period during which an employee, usually terminating their services, is asked to stay away from work while still being on the payroll. This is typically enforced when the employee is resigning or transitioning to a competitor, and the employer wants to prevent them from accessing sensitive information or influencing clients for a specific period.

Why do employers enforce Gardening Leave?

Employers may enforce Gardening Leave to prevent an outgoing employee from taking proprietary information or valuable clients to their new employer or competitor. It also provides a buffer period to manage any handover of responsibilities and adjust clients and colleagues to the employee’s departure.

How long does Gardening Leave typically last?

The duration of Gardening Leave varies from one organization to another and depends on the employee’s position, contract terms, and the sensitivity of their role. Most Gardening Leaves last from one month to six months, but the period might be extended or reduced depending on the circumstances.

Is an employee paid during Gardening Leave?

Yes, while on Gardening Leave, an employee is typically entitled to receive their regular salary and benefits. The specific terms are generally outlined in the employment contract or agreement made between the employer and employee.

Can an employee work elsewhere during Gardening Leave?

Generally, employees are not allowed to seek or engage in other employment during Gardening Leave. However, this depends on the terms outlined in the employment contract. Permission may be granted by the employer for the employee to engage in specified work activities that do not conflict with the purpose of the leave.

Is Gardening Leave a legal requirement, or can an employer simply terminate an employee without notice?

Gardening Leave is not a legal requirement in most jurisdictions, and its implementation depends on the terms and conditions outlined in an employment contract. Employers can also terminate an employee with or without notice, based on the agreed-upon contractual terms and local employment laws.

Can an employee refuse to go on Gardening Leave?

Since Gardening Leave terms are usually outlined in an employment contract, employees may not have the option to refuse. If an employee believes Gardening Leave is being unfairly applied or enforced, they may seek legal advice or discuss their concerns with their employer.

What are the advantages of Gardening Leave for the employee?

While on Gardening Leave, employees receive their regular salary and benefits without having to perform their usual job responsibilities. The leave offers them time to relax, explore personal interests, and prepare for their next career move. Additionally, it may provide valuable time to network and plan for their upcoming role.

Related Finance Terms

  • Non-compete clause
  • Employee transition
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Notice period
  • Restrictive covenants

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