What is a Sabbatical?
by ivillage.co.uk - Clare Brennan
Make time for yourself - think about taking a break from work.
A sabbatical is a voluntary arrangement whereby your employer might give you time off work – paid or unpaid – over and above your usual holiday allowance.
Your employer might offer a sabbaticals as a reward for having completed a period of service. The Guardian Media Group allows people to take a month off on full pay every four years; the John Lewis Partnership, on the other hand, offers six months of paid leave after partners have been there for 25 years. In between these two extremes, after six years' service, every five years, the Royal College of Nursing makes possible two months of sabbatical for its professional staff.
If you want to take advantage of a paid sabbatical scheme, your employer might expect you to use the time to develop a skill that will help you improve your performance when you come back to work. Some employers insist that there are certain things you can't do while on sabbatical: The Guardian, for instance, says journalists must not do any regular journalistic work during this leave.
You might qualify for an unpaid sabbatical after you've been in your job for a certain amount of time.
There are no particular laws to arrange how sabbaticals are organised. If your employer has a sabbatical scheme, then the personnel department should be able to fill you in on the procedures.
If your employer doesn't already have a sabbatical scheme, you may want to request one. When you are making your case, be clear about the benefits on both sides. You might want to take up an opportunity for training or further education or develop your skills by working abroad for a charity. These benefits could be as great for your employer as for you yourself.
Generally, as a sabbatical is usually seen as a reward for long service, it can help organisations to keep skilled and experienced staff. In the United States, Tandem Computers found that employees rated sabbaticals as their most popular benefit.
Work out what the costs will be to the employer if you are hoping to take a paid sabbatical; or what savings there might be if you are intending to take an unpaid sabbatical. Find out if any other comparable organisations are offering sabbaticals and how they run them.