This is a term often used where an employer has inserted a Policy into an employee’s contract of employment which essentially states that where an employee is leaving their job (having resigned or otherwise had their employment terminated) they may be instructed to stay away from work during their notice period, while still remaining on the company payroll. The term “garden leave” derives from the fact that the employee is instructed to remain at home where they may “tend to their garden”. It is important to note that these policies apply when an employee is leaving their job and in those circumstances an employer may be concerned that the leaving employee has knowledge of company confidential information or trade secrets. A garden leave policy means that an employee will receive payment throughout their notice period and, as a result, they are still bound by their contractual terms of employment. This means that an employee on garden leave still owes a duty of fidelity to their employer and as a consequence they may not work for a competitor during that time, they may not disclose trade secrets and they may not act in any other way which would be contrary to their employer’s best interests. Thus, the employee has the benefit of being paid while the employer has the benefit of continuing confidentiality. In order for an employer to apply garden leave in any scenario they must have expressly reserved the right to do so in the contract of employment and that express clause must be reasonable in its application.