Can I ask my employee to go on garden leave or pay them in lieu of notice?

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As long as the contract of employment allows:-
  • you may pay the employee in lieu of notice so that they leave the company earlier; or
  • you might want to put the employee on garden leave so that they are not at work during their notice period.
However, this would all depend on the relationship with the employee and the information that they have access to in the company. If there is a risk that the employee could cause damage to the company or have a negative impact on others, then it is sensible to speak to the person to agree an early termination date.

If you have a garden leave clause in the contract of employment, you can send them home and ask them not to come into work and not to have any contact with other employees, clients or customers of the company. During this period, the employee would receive all pay and benefits that they would have received had they still been at work.

Alternatively, you may choose to pay them in lieu of notice. As the name suggests this payment should be made as soon as possible and would be subject to tax and NI. The employee does not have the right to choose this option, as this is purely up to the employer and as long as the clause is in the contract of employment, the employer will have acted in accordance with the terms of the contract, therefore avoiding any claims of breach of contract. However, careful consideration must be taken before a decision is made.

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