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Here’s why taking a sabbatical is good for the employee and company

8 min read

Imagine being able to take an extended break (perhaps a few months) to repurpose your life and career and still get paid by your company. Sounds too good to be true. In fact, this isn’t a fictional thought but reality!   

This perk is termed as ‘Sabbatical Leave’ and is provided by companies to reward their long-term employees’ loyalty. More about ‘sabbatical’ coming through your way! 

What is Sabbatical Leave?  

To put sabbatical into simpler terms for you, it is a situation where the employee will be away from work for a longer time (either weeks or months) while still being employed by their company. Employees opt for it to pursue different interests for personal or professional benefit. During this period, the employee isn’t required to report to their managers or actively engage with work deliverables.   

It is one of the fringe benefits offered to the employee, and he/she can avail it when they have aged for a certain period in the company. There isn’t any decree that mandates the provision of sabbatical leave by organizations, but it is one of the good to have benefits for attracting and retaining top talent.   

How can sabbatical help the employee and company?  

You must be wondering that giving away such an enormous number of leaves to an employee is a loss to the company. 

Whereas it isn’t a loss and as a matter of fact it benefits company in many ways. Here’s a list of benefits that both employee and the company can derive from sabbaticals 

sabbatical benefits for employer and employee

Sabbatical benefits for the employee  

Recharge and rejuvenate  

Have you ever got worked up and felt better again after a good amount of sleep?  

That’s the power of relaxation.  

The same happens with your employees too. Sometimes work can be daunting, resulting in exhaustion, and that’s why we take breaks every now and then. Over time these short breaks become ineffectual, triggering emotional drain and over-tiredness. Since sabbatical is long and involves no attachment with work, it magically refreshes your employees when they return to work.  

Declined stress levels  

study proved that people who took sabbatical had experienced reduced stress levels after returning to work. The long leave has also accounted for the rise in employee’s psychological resources and enhanced overall well-being.  

Improved engagement  

Employees returning from sabbatical show sharper engagement with work. Long time-off allows them to generate new ideas, focus on attaining certifications and develop new skills that catalyze their career growth. Sabbatical proves to be a phase that can bestow employees with incessant benefits.  

Personal fulfillment  

Self-contentment is the key to ace professionally, and a sabbatical helps to fulfill it. With no work in the vicinity, employees shift their focus on personal goals and development. With enough time available in their hands, employees project their goals and achieve them down the line before returning to work.  

Sabbatical benefits for the employer/company  

More responsible interim roles   

study by TSNE found that people who’ve took up the roles and responsibilities of employees on sabbatical leave have pursued them effectively. Such instances supplement existing talent resources and help organizations in identifying potential leaders for their succession planning process.  

Teams become independent  

Ideally, no work should come to a standstill owing to dependency issues. Sabbatical, in a way, helps teams to become independent. As other team members take up and delve into the roles, they suffice the work and productivity demands during the stakeholder’s absence. Even when the actual employee returns, the peer can continue to share the responsibilities for a smooth workflow.  

Attracting and retaining talent  

Upon returning to work from a sabbatical, there is a positive development in organizations’ retention and engagement levels. While significantly impacting employee experience, companies can also exhibit their propensity to care for employees through a sabbatical leave policy that is likely to attract top talent and enhance employer brand.. Especially when the candidate weighs your company against another, a sabbatical might be a stand-out benefit for him/her to choose you.  

What are the eligibility criteria and conditions?  

Sabbaticals are not for everyone, and to avail it, an employee has to meet specific criteria that vary with organizations. Here are some requirements and conditions to give you an idea.  

Note: Please be aware that these conditions and criteria are for reference purposes as they can vary conforming to a business’s interests.  

Who is eligible?  

Usually, sabbaticals are offered to employees associated with the company for a more extended period (5 or more years).   

What are the conditions?  

  1. The employee has to notify the employer at least three months in advance as it helps managers plan and distribute work during the employee’s absence. 
  2. The purpose of taking the sabbatical has to be disclosed to the company and it shouldn’t conflict with the company’s interests. 
  3. The employee needs to complete tasks and projects that he/she is involved in before going on leave.  
  4. A sabbatical can be paid or unpaid, depending on the company’s policy. 
  5. The employee has to utilize the sabbatical within a certain period (ideally 24 months) after becoming eligible, or else they can lose it.  
  6. The sabbatical leave should be taken in one go and cannot be intermittent.  
  7. Once the sabbatical period ends, the employee is expected to return to work, as mentioned in the sabbatical application.  

Sometimes understanding leave policy can be tricky, and employees come knocking on your door, and at times, they pay multiple visits to be sure. Transparent leave policy explanation in Keka helps keep employees informed all the time with every leave type’s descriptions, rules, leave balances, and visual representation.   

Taking multiple benefits into account, a greater number of organizations are starting to provide sabbatical to their employees. Whatever the purpose of taking it, both the parties (employee and employer) are recipients of benefits. Good things take time, and that’s what a sabbatical is in a nutshell. 

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    Meet the author


    Product Marketer

    Sarath is an enthusiast product marketer here at Keka. He is keen on writing articles, social media, and creating content for the HR domain. During his leisure, you can find him making videos and learning cinematography.


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