Have you ever felt you needed a break from your career? Not just a vacation, but a get-away-from-it-all-for-months break?
That is the purpose of a sabbatical.
What is a Sabbatical?
A sabbatical is a paid leave from your career that is usually 6 weeks to one year in duration. Traditionally, a sabbatical has a specific purpose: to take a break from the norm to study a new skill, to travel to conduct field research, to complete a book, etc. More recently, “sabbatical leave” has been added by employers as an employee benefit - an extended period of time away solely for the employee’s benefit.
Usually, the sabbatical is offered on top of normal vacation days, which makes this benefit even more appealing! At many companies, it’s also encouraged (sometimes required) to take the full amount of leave at one time, meaning you can’t take a week here and there throughout the year. The whole point is to take a large, refreshing break to rejuvenate you after years of working hard.
Historically, the word sabbatical comes from a Biblical practice in which every seventh year the land was to be given a rest from being planted and tilled. Debts were also to be forgiven every seven years. The point was to rest, and to start again with a fresh slate.
Who Gets A Sabbatical?
The practice is most common in an academic environment (e.g. professors, researchers), although some agencies and corporations also offer this perk. Industries range from tech to restaurants to retail and the offering for each company is different. Some require a minimum of five years employment before you can take a sabbatical while others require 15 years of service. Some are paid, some are partially paid, others are unpaid.
You can find a well researched list of employers offering sabbaticals on yoursabbatical.com. It’s a site that not only provides comprehensive information on sabbaticals, but also arms employees (like you!) to campaign to get sabbaticals at your company.
Do You Get A Sabbatical?
If you don’t know, ask! And even if this benefit isn’t offered now, you can request that it be considered for the future. And if you’re looking for a job and benefits like a sabbatical are important to you, seek out employers who are competitive in their benefits offering. Not many employers are detailed on their websites about benefit packages. It’s helpful to network with employees within the company to uncover this information. You can also ask benefit questions during an interview.
Curious about how a sabbatical differs from vacation days, sick days, and personal leave? Read more here.