Garden Leave

Garden Leave: Navigating the Nuances in Employee Transition

Garden leave, also known as "gardening leave," is an HR practice that has garnered attention for its unique approach to managing employee exits. Let's explore what garden leave entails, its pros and cons, and its global applicability.

What is Garden Leave?

Garden leave is when an employee, post-resignation or termination, must stay away from work while still maintaining their employment status. During this time, the employee is not expected to perform work-related duties but continues receiving their salary.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Garden Leave

Like any HR policy, garden leave has its advantages and disadvantages:


  1. Protecting Company Interests: Garden leave serves as a protective measure, preventing employees from immediately joining competitors or taking sensitive information.
  2. Smooth Transition: It allows employees to wrap up their work and prepare for their next role, easing the transition process.


  1. Cost Implications: Companies must continue to pay the employee's salary during the garden leave period, which can be financially burdensome.
  2. Employee Dissatisfaction: Some employees may feel sidelined or undervalued, potentially leading to legal challenges against the practice.

Garden Leave Across the Globe

Originally a UK concept, garden leave has found its way into various countries, each with its own set of regulations. In the US, it is less common due to differing employment laws, while in Australia and Singapore, it is particularly prevalent in the financial sector and for senior roles.

Garden Leave vs. Non-Compete Clauses

Garden leave and non-compete clauses both aim to prevent employees from joining competitors. However, garden leave is not a contractual agreement but a period of absence, whereas non-compete clauses are contractual and may have legal restrictions.

Managing Garden Leave with HRIS

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) can streamline the management of garden leave policies, allowing HR professionals to focus on other aspects like talent retention and productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Garden Leave?: A period post-resignation or termination during which an employee remains employed but is not required to work.
  • Is Garden Leave Legal?: Yes, it is legal in most jurisdictions, provided companies adhere to specific legal requirements like adequate notice and continued payment.
  • Can an Employee Work Elsewhere During Garden Leave?: Generally, no. The employee is still technically employed and is usually not allowed to work for another employer during this period.