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Can I force my employee to go on “Garden Leave”?

Here’s the problem (and it’s a common one) – your employee resigns, gives you 3 months notice and you think he’s going to work for one of your competitors. You want to put him on garden leave to keep him away from your business and customers. But can you legally do it?

The answer lies in the contract of employment. If it contains a properly drafted garden leave clause then you can insist that he has to remain at home throughout his notice period. He is still employed by you during this time, and you must pay him his salary and other benefits, but he can’t work for anyone else and you can keep him away from your business and clients during this period.

If the contract doesn’t have a properly drafted garden leave clause then you can’t force him to stay at home. Your only real option then is to try to get his agreement to it – he may be happy to stay at home on full pay but not have to work.

The moral here is a simple one - get it sorted at the beginning of the employment relationship. Get a properly drafted employment contract so that you have in place the protection you want in these circumstances. Don’t leave it to chance. 

If you require assistance with employee contracts or any other employment law/HR issue please do not hesitate to contact Chris Macwilliam now on 0800 083 0815.

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