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About 15 months
Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier on. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.
If an employer wants to place you on garden leave they would ideally need a specific clause in the contract allowing them to do so. However, it is not uncommon for garden leave to be applied even in the absence of such a clause and whilst technically it may amount to a breach of contract, this would only be an issue if you end up losing out on any remuneration as a result (e.g. bonuses/commission), or if your skills are seriously affected by the lack of work during that period (usually only applicable to highly skilled or manual jobs where you need to be actively working to retain your skills). The clause you mentioned could allow the employer to place you on GL even if it does not specifically deal with this option, however the mention that GL is a possibility could work in their favour.
As to when you may start working for a competitor, the restriction applies for 3 months after termination. This would be the date your contract actually terminates. When you are on GL your contract continues to be in operation and as such the clause would only apply once the GL has finished, meaning it would continue for 6 months from the date you hand in your notice (assuming you spend the full 3 month notice period on GL).
However, such clauses can often be unenforceable due to their unreasonably restrictive nature. So even though you may be prevented from working for a competitor, assuming that you do not affect any of the employer’s legitimate business interests (such as trying to poach clients, using confidential or trade secrets against them, trying to poach employees, etc), it would be unlikely that such a restriction would be enforceable as it would be seen as too restrictive. So if you simply go to work for a competitor, have no influence over the business of the ex-employer and use your connections or influence to damage it, then the likelihood is that the clause may not be legally applicable anyway.
Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you
Hi, this would depend on your influence in the industry and how you go about your job. If you will be using your new employer's leads and not be using any confidential information, trade secrets or client lists of your old employer then it is unlikely that such a restriction would be enforceable.