‘Garden leave’ is a period of time after you’ve been asked to leave your job or you’ve been made redundant, when your employer carries on paying you, but when they don’t want you to continue coming to work. During this time, you’re still employed so you can’t take another job with a different employer.
So can you serve an unfair dismissal claim while on garden leave? Can you appeal against being asked to leave your job?
To serve an unfair dismissal claim, you need to complete the form ET1 to send to the employment tribunal. You can only submit this form after you have been dismissed and worked your notice. ‘Garden leave’ is notice without having to do the work you’re being paid for. If you’re thinking about a tribunal application then you must do this within three months of your termination date. If you’re on ‘garden leave’ then you are still employed, even though you’re not working. This means that if you want to make a claim for unfair dismissal, you can’t do it during a period of garden leave – you have to wait until you actually finish working for that employer and they are no longer paying you.
Your contract of employment will tell you what else you can and can’t do while on garden leave and what your employer will expect from you during that time.
In addition, if you were employed after 6 April 2012, you need to have worked for the company for two years, to be able to claim unfair dismissal. If you started work before 6 April 2012 you have to have completed one year’s service to be able to claim unfair dismissal. (This means that at the time of writing this blog in March 2013, no one will actually be able to claim that they have been unfairly dismissed until 6 April 2014.)
There is more information on all this, including a short video that explains it all, on my website. Click here to watch the video.