The 'Work Sabbatical' Debate...

Megan Rowe
September 7 2022
In this post-pandemic society we are living in, many people have re-evaluated different aspects of their lives and what bears the most importance to them. There seems to be a real desire in people now to refocus the work-life balance, taking more time to give to areas of their lives that have previously been a lesser priority. 
Maybe you are looking for ways you can help employees on your team to refocus and achieve balance in their lives. But should offering sabbatical leave be one of your considerations? 
What is Sabbatical?
Sabbatical leave is an extended period of time away from work. This is mutually agreed between the employer and the employee and goes beyond the annual leave entitlement. In the UK, there is no legal requirement to offer sabbatical leave, and typically, it is unpaid. This is time that an employee can use to explore passion projects, learn new skills, travel or simply to rest. Typically speaking, certain conditions have to be met for an employee to be granted sabbatical leave, such as working with the company for a significant period.
While there is no legal requirement in the UK to offer sabbatical leave to employees, statistics show that 62% of UK employees would take sabbatical leave if it was an option for them. This suggests it may be a great benefit to an employer to have it as one of the company’s perks. 
Attract and Retain 
There are not many companies in the UK that actually offer sabbatical leave. If this is a perk that is offered within your company, it will instantly help you stand out as an employer to job seekers. With all the demands of modern society, people struggle to live a life outside of work, and an employer that is seen to support a healthy work-life balance will hold better appeal, attracting the top talent to work with them. What’s more, employees who feel invested in will invest more into their work. 
Support Wellbeing  
Another reason a person may seek sabbatical leave is due to burnout from work. Extended periods of leave, such as a sabbatical, are proven to combat and prevent burnout. Avoiding burnout is down to finding the balance. Sometimes the demands of work are more overwhelming than others, and by offering an extended period of leave, you will allow your best employees to remain at their best. This may be of particular benefit after more stressful periods within the company, allowing staff the time to rest and recover away from work. 
Sabbatical leave is not a new concept, but it does seem to be fairly uncommon within the corporate world. There are companies that have a successful sabbatical leave program in place. So, if you are looking for ways that you can help boost company morale and improve retention, productivity and engagement within your organisation, then a sabbatical is worth considering. It allows employees the opportunity to reflect, grow and remember what it is they love about what they do while feeling valued within their workplace. 



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