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Do I Need To Give Notice To My Gardener To Terminate His Service?

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Bumblebee1612 | 13:43 Sun 24th Jul 2016 | Law
38 Answers
Just over one year ago, I started using a gardener.
He is self-employed and I rely on him to tell me how many hours he needs to be paid for. He is supposed to work one afternoon, for four hours per week.

Soon after appointing him, he increased his hourly rate from £15 to £20 per hour.

Then he asked if we would pay 4 days holiday per year - we agreed to 4 x 4 hours holiday pay as he seemed reliable and hard working and we didn't want to lose him.

I know that on the few occasions when I have been here, he doesn't always arrive at the expected time (1pm) and leaves before the 4 hours is completed. I haven't made a fuss as he does do a good job and the garden looks so much better than before.

However, this week I was around and saw him in the garden at 1:10pm. I went out to offer him a drink and remarked that I hadn't seen him arrive. We discussed which jobs I wished for him to do that afternoon and I left him to it. I saw him a couple of times from the house in various areas of the garden. However, when I went out to see him a just past 4 o’ clock, he was waiting in the drive. I went round the back of the house to get to talk to him, but as I reached the driveway gate, he was just getting into a car which had pulled up. That evening, I informed my husband that the gardener should be paid for 3 hours for that afternoon. The next evening I received an email from the gardener saying that he worked 4 hours the day before.
I apologised for the misunderstanding and said that I had assumed that he had just arrived when I saw him in the back garden and asked him to clarify the time that he had arrived, as I had been looking out for him. He is not aware that I saw him leave at 4:10pm. I am waiting for his reply.

This is the final straw for me now. I have been very patient until now but I do not like being deceived.

I am considering writing to him to end the service. Do I need to give him an explanation for stopping and would I need to give him notice?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


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Don't make an excuse tell him you are not satisfied he is working the contracted hours and terminate him. And you paid him holiday when he's self employed?? Really?? What a nice person you are. There are plenty of reliable people looking for work.
19:11 Sun 24th Jul 2016

£20 an hour for gardening? he certainly saw you coming imo
As presumably there is no written contract, no need to give notice. Make some bland excuse, such as a relative has offered to tend to your garden.
As he is self employed you are not governed by any employment laws, just his contract with you. You will have to give him the length of notice agreed in that contract.
Why on earth were you paying for hours he wasn't there whilst on holiday?

£20 an hour for gardening?

Blooming hell!

Just tell him his sevices are no longer required.
Question Author
Thank you for the prompt responses.

£20 per hour is not unreasonable in this area - apparently.

We do not have a written contract, just a verbal agreement.

He may already suspect that I have lost confidence in him, as he quoted £500 for cutting our hedges, which was quoted at £400 for last year. When I said that we would not go ahead he emailed back immediately to say that we could come to a compromise about the cost and that he doesn't want to lose the job.
I wrote back to say that it isn't just about the price.

When the gardener emailed about working 4 hours on Thursday afternoon, he dropped his quote for the hedges to £400. I responded that my husband has already ordered a hedge trimmer and has decided to do the hedges himself.

£20 an hour cash in hand is way over the normal rate, he has taken you for a mug.
I would give him a set amount per week to do the job as needed. I would pay £ 30 to £40 a week max for all that needed doing. If he does not like it there are lots that would be happy to do the job for that amount.
I think £20 per hour for a self-employed profession is fairly reasonable.

However, you charge the £20 per hour, to cover times when you don't/can't work due to weather, illness, holidays, etc ... so he's having a laugh when he's asking you for holiday pay!!!!

I'm a window cleaner and am self employed. I can just imagine what my customers would say to me if I told them I was going on holiday and still expected to be paid.

Make hay whilst the sun shines .... and put enough away for the times when you can't work - that's my motto.
A self employed person does NOT charge holiday pay - tell him to take a running jump.

Oh .... in reply to your original question, you don't need to give him any notice as there's no contract of any kind. As already suggested, tell him a family member is going to be doing it from now on.
I pay my cleaner £15 p.h. for two hours p.w. For the first hour she cleans and for the second takes me shopping. Sometimes all is done and dusted after 90 minutes, other times she runs over the two hours but does not charge me extra so it's swings and roundabouts.
i am self employed and earn half of what you're paying him also being self employed you dont get paid for holidays - i certainly dont and friends of mine that are self employed say the same, get rid he's taking the Michael!


Anna x
£400 for cutting a hedge? Where do you live, Buckingham Palace?
Dig a big hole in your garden and bury him in it!!!!!
Question Author
That made me laugh, Jackdaw33!

We have 8 foot high hedges and probably the same thickness on all the boundaries to our property, as well as several internal hedges which need trimming on both sides and the top. It is a lot of work, especially with the clearing up. It works out at about half a kilometre in total.

Thank you for your answers. You have been extremely helpful. I do feel more of a fool than I did before posting, though!

As soon as hubby returns from playing
Question Author
That should have continued:
As soon as hubby returns from playing polo (lol) I will speak to him about sending an email to the ex-gardener.
playing polo it could be Buckingham palace lol x
## Dig a big hole in your garden and bury him in it!!!!! ##

I will change that, get your husband to dig the hole, when he gets back from polo, and put you in it!!! :-)
As a final task, get the gardener to dig the hole.
Don't feel foolish Bumblebee, just be pleased you posted on here.

Send the gardener the email and don't look back. No ifs, no buts!

Plenty more reasonable gardeners where he came from! Just ask around in the neighbourhood for some recommendations and price guidance.
Question Author
Thank you, again, everyone.

Did I say polo? I meant golf! ;-)
Where are you? My son does garden and tree surgery work self employed he does not expect £20 an hour or holiday pay for gardening , possibly for felling a large tree it would be £20 an hour ,but he normally agrees a rate for the whole job in advance.

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