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December 13, 2010

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I've heard it occasionally here, in Canada, but also simply hear "paid leave". Another way it's handled is to say that the person is "taking accrued vacation time", which is usually not entirely accurate... maybe a few weeks are owed, but not months.

My experience with garden leave (which sadly does not include being paid to do nothing) is a bit different from the examples above.

In 2005, when the U.S. agency I worked for was taken over by a British conglomerate, my boss, the North American CEO, accepted a job with a different agency. His contract with the old employer prevented him from starting the new position for six months; during that time the British company paid him his full salary and called it garden leave.

Similarly, in 2007, my nephew was lured from one big London bank to another and he, too, enjoyed a lengthy garden leave.

The "rubber room" concept is definitely different; it's where you put people you can't fire but who are useless. There's an old phrase "kicked upstairs" that I believe is similar (?), in that it suggests sidetracking someone who is not productive. But that's different from keeping someone on ice while they ride out a non-compete term or something.

The latest term I heard around here for laying people off was "deinvesting/deinvestment," which covered both the work (projects) to be (no longer) done and, alas, the people who were (no longer) doing them.

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