Gardening Leave: or the benefits of white collar privlege

Today is my first day back at work since I handed in my notice. I decided that coming into work would be a waste of my time and I’m “working from home” in the loosest sense. Lucky me or what?It’s been a common theme in stories I hear about work where after a restructuring or reorganisation. These seem to happen every 5 years or so, or when a new CEO comes in and decides to dump the dead wood and manufactures a crisis to allow everyone to be fired or left feeling grateful for their job).

One common practice is for the professionals / managers to be let go (swapping golden handcuffs for golden parachutes) and put on gardening leave. Essentially paid to spend the last 3 months or so doing nothing at all. It’s called gardening leave.

When I left the last company, I would have had 3 months of gardening leave paid but I jumped ship into a new job and didn’t have the luxury of 3 months paid idleness. If you were there for longer than me you could get even longer – and this was on top of redundancy payments. It’s down to the employment contract which states that for every year you work you get X weeks/months pay. But leaving the old company, the terms were very generous.

In the Lady’s company, when they were getting rid of people, they were paid at or close to the statutory minimum and were expected to work up to the day they finish. In many blue collar jobs, you’d be laughed at if you handed in your notice and expected to be paid for a couple of months to do nothing.

White collar privilege? I think so. It’s certainly a bit funny and a curiosity.

So I now have 4 weeks to wind down before starting the new job. Handover won’t take that long and I don’t really need to go back into the office to see my depressed colleagues.

Quite frankly, I’ll be glad to see the back of them. It’s not like I intend to see the back of them but nobody who has spent a long time in a waiting room at the doctors with a bunch of sad looking people, comes out of their appointment and hangs around for the atmosphere. No, it’s “let’s get out of here as quick as possible!”

So, if you need me, I’ll be at home.

Thanks, GFF


  1. One of my colleagues “went postal / rage quit” and was promptly marched out of the office, all network and building access immediately withdrawn. He got a month of “gardening leave” and no further work was expected. When I was previously made redundant I got 3 months gardening leave. It was just before my son was born so it gave me enough time to prepare for the imminent arrival. Luckily I had a sufficient emergency fund which also enabled me to have a further 12 months away from work with my infant son. It was the hardest work, worst paid but most rewarding 12 months.


    1. going postal – hahaha – I love that expression (although I am sure posties don’t).
      I think that having “emergency funds” or savings is a great cushion to fall back on. In my company, most of the new Dads would take 1 week paternity pay because the second week would be at statutory!
      1 year off would be lovely but I’d be afraid of getting back into work again. I may live to regret not doing so…


      1. I had the same worry, especially as any job I secured had to be sufficiently local with hours that would let me cover nursery pick ups and drop offs. I found a suitable job after my 12 months “off” but had to compromise on the salary. I did that for 3 years then secured another suitable job but with a 50% pay rise. Returning to the work force was a challenge ( and it continues to be a delicate balancing act ) but being FI means that I can quit any time if the compromises become too much.


  2. No friends at work? No surprise that you’ve left then.

    This sounds quite sad to me that there’s nobody there that you would want to say goodbye to…or even want to try to help, seeing as you say they’re all depressed.

    Perhaps I just worked at a unique place where towards the end, it was just endless visits to the pub to say goodbye and good luck to everyone, to maintain friendships and networks.


    1. I do have friends at work – but I had a few things to take care of at home today.
      I’ll be back in the office tomorrow for a handover session and catch-up.

      Regarding the office – I think that (and this may be the case for many) people don’t always know that they are unhappy. Depressed may be a bit of exaggeration on my behalf – I’m not saying that people have clinical problems or are suicidal but it isn’t a nice place to be in and I’m glad to have manage to get away.

      Sadly, I’ve not been in a job with a lot of afterwork drinks for years now! I don’t think that I could take it.
      So, as is customary for leavers in the company, I’ll buy pies for everyone or baked goods from Tescos.

      Liked by 1 person

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