What is Sabbatical leave: A guide to taking extended time off from work


For many of us, work can become all-consuming. It can feel like we're always on, answering emails and taking phone calls outside of regular working hours. It's easy to feel like we're burning out, and that we need a break from the daily grind. That's where sabbatical leave comes in.

What is sabbatical leave?

Sabbatical leave is an extended break from work that is typically granted to employees who have been with a company for a certain amount of time. It's a chance for employees to take time off to pursue personal goals, such as travel, education, or research. Sabbaticals are often unpaid, but some companies do offer paid sabbatical leave. According to the research by Opodo, 62% of people in the UK have said they would take a sabbatical from work if it was an option. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 17% of organizations in the United States offer sabbaticals to their employees. (Source: SHRM, "2018 Employee Benefits Survey")

How long is sabbatical leave?

The length of sabbatical leave can vary depending on the company and the employee. Some sabbaticals are just a few weeks long, while others can last for several months or even a year. The length of the sabbatical will depend on the goals of the employee, as well as the needs of the company.

Why take sabbatical leave?

Taking a sabbatical leave can be a valuable investment in your personal and professional growth. It allows you to take a break from the routine and explore new experiences, interests, and perspectives. A sabbatical can provide an opportunity to learn new skills, develop new relationships, and enhance your creativity and innovation. It can also help you avoid burnout and increase your overall job satisfaction by providing a chance to recharge and reflect. Moreover, a sabbatical can benefit your employer as well, as it allows you to return to work refreshed, energized, and with new ideas and perspectives to contribute. So, taking a sabbatical leave can be a win-win situation for both you and your employer.

How to ask for sabbatical leave?

If you're interested in taking sabbatical leave, the first step is to talk to your employer. Be clear about your goals for the sabbatical, and how you plan to use your time off. It's important to be honest about why you need the sabbatical, and how it will benefit you and the company.

Make sure to give your employer plenty of notice, and be flexible about the timing of your sabbatical. If your employer is hesitant to grant you a sabbatical, be prepared to negotiate. You may need to compromise on the length of your sabbatical, or agree to take unpaid leave.

Tips for making the most of your sabbatical leave

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your sabbatical leave:

  1. Plan ahead: Take the time to plan out what you want to accomplish during your sabbatical. Set goals for yourself, and make a plan for achieving them.

  2. Stay connected: Keep in touch with your employer and colleagues while you're on sabbatical. This can help you stay connected to your work, and make it easier to transition back into your job when you return.

  3. Try new things: Use your sabbatical as an opportunity to try new things and gain new experiences. This can help you gain new skills and knowledge that can be beneficial to your career.

  4. Take care of yourself: Make sure to take care of yourself while you're on sabbatical. Get enough rest, eat healthy, and exercise regularly to stay healthy and energized.

  5. Reflect: Use your sabbatical as a chance to reflect on your life and career. Take the time to think about what you want to accomplish in the future, and how you can make that happen.

In conclusion, sabbatical leave can be a great way to take a break from work and pursue personal goals. If you're considering taking a sabbatical, make sure to talk to your employer and plan ahead to make the most of your time off.