'Garden' clause in new law requires pay during noncompete

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BOSTON (AP) - Workers with noncompete contracts in Massachusetts will soon be the first in the U.S. to enjoy a "garden leave" provision allowing them to get paid even after leaving a job.

The rule taking effect Monday is part of a revamp of state law covering noncompete agreements and protection of trade secrets.

Millions of U.S. workers sign agreements that restrict them from leaving a job and going to a competitor.

The first-in-the-nation garden leave clause states that during the restricted period in which a former employee is barred from working for a competitor, the previous employer must continue paying at least 50 percent of the departed worker's base salary.

The employer and employee could agree on alternative compensation.

The term was coined by the British, conjuring images of leisurely days spent tending one's garden while still being paid.

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