What is Sabbatical Leave?

The term “sabbatical” comes from the Hebrew word for rest. It means that you have a period off where you do not work. In other words, you get some free time away from your regular duties. It is a paid leave period, so you don’t lose any money by taking these days off. You need to pay for them out of your pocket.

This article provides a detailed guide on sabbatical leaves. Let’s start.

What is Sabbatical Leave?

A sabbatical leave is a paid period off during which an employee takes a break from their normal job duties at the company. It is given after a certain amount of years of service.

Sabbatical leaves are significant because they allow employees to recharge their batteries and give themselves time to think about new ideas and projects. This article will talk about a sabbatical leave and how you can take advantage of this paid or unpaid leave to benefit your career.

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The reason that companies offer sabbatical leaves is that it allows the company to retain its best employees. It also gives the employees time to revamp their power and think about new projects and ideas.

Companies often use sabbatical leave as a way to attract top talent. If you want to work at a particular company, then you should ask yourself if they offer sabbatical leave or not.

If they do, make sure that you apply for it. It might become one of the most beneficial things you ever do for your career.

What are the Types of Sabbatical Leave?

There are two types of sabbatical leaves:

  1. Full-time sabbaticals  – This type of sabbatical is offered after five years of employment
  2. Part-time sabbaticals – This type of sabbatical is offered after ten years of employment

Both types of sabbatical leave are paid. However, there are different rules regarding each kind of sabbatical. Let’s dive into the details for each type:

1. Full-Time Sabbatical Leaves

When you take a full-time sabbatical, you must notify your employer before you start your leave. Your employer has 30 days to decide about the paid time or whether he wants to keep you on the payroll while you are away.

If he doesn’t, he must compensate you with either a lump-sum payment or a salary equivalent to 90% of your current salary.

2. Part-Time Sabbatical Leaves

After ten years of employment, your employer cannot force you to continue working while you are on sabbatical. However, he can choose to let you go or fire you.

If he chooses to let you go, he must pay you the same compensation as when you were fired. If he decides to fire you, he has to pay half of your salary for six months. Note that a part-time sabbatical is available to those who have completed ten years of service.

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How Long is Sabbatical Leave?

The standard duration of sabbatical leave is 6 months. However, the duration sometimes may range anywhere from one month to a period of 2 years. Each company has its own sabbatical leave policy for sabbatical leaves based on its level of professionalism, flexibility, and resources. Thus, the period for sabbatical leaves varies from company to company however the general length is often 6 months.

Do you Get Paid for Sabbatical Leave?

Getting paid or not are dependent on the type of sabbatical leaves you’re on. As companies offer both paid and unpaid sabbatical leaves based on the work terms and conditions, it is totally There are different types of sabbaticals. Some are paid, some are unpaid, and others are partially reimbursed. Here are some examples of sabbatical leave:

1. Paid Sabbatical Leave

Paid sabbatical leaves are often for a shorter period, and you get paid for these types of leaves. You are entitled to a certain number of days off every year for paid sabbaticals. It means that you can take up to a maximum of let’s say 40 days off per year. However, you must follow the rules of your employer in case you are looking to request sabbatical leave for an extended period.

2. Unpaid Sabbatical Leave

Unpaid sabbatical leaves are widespread among senior managers and eligible employees. Such leaves are unpaid, thus unpaid sabbatical leaves are of longer durations.

3. Partial-Paid Sabbatical Leave

Partial sabbatical leave allows employees to take part of their salary or a specific percentage for a specific time.

What are the Benefits of Taking Sabbatical Leaves?

Taking a sabbatical leave is one of the best decisions you can make for your career. Here are some of the benefits of doing so:

1. Recharge Your Stigma

As mentioned earlier, sabbatical leave is designed to give you a chance to recharge your batteries. By taking a few days off, you can regain energy and focus on new ideas and projects. It will help you to come up with new ways to improve your performance at work.

2. Gain New Skills

While you are on sabbatical leave, you can learn new skills. For example, you might learn how to code in a new language or develop an app.

3. Get More Done

One of the most significant benefits of requesting sabbatical leave is that it helps you complete tasks faster than usual. When you are on sabbatical leave, you can work longer hours without feeling tired.

4. Earn More

In general, sabbatical leave is unpaid. However, if you are lucky enough to get a job offer from another company while on sabbatical leave, you can negotiate higher pay.

5. Improve Relationships With Colleagues

Many people don’t realize that sabbatical leave is an excellent opportunity to meet new colleagues. During your sabbatical leave, try to connect with people outside of your department. This way, you can build relationships with people who share similar interests.

6. More Opportunities

Another benefit of paid sabbatical leaves when if you plan to return to work after 12 months, is creating opportunities for yourself. For example, if you want to become a freelancer, the Sabbatical period is the best time to launch your business.

Sabbatical Leave Rules and Policy: What Do They Look?

A basic sabbatical policy is similar to a sabbatical leave policy template and should include the following elements:

  • A description of what constitutes sabbatical leave
  • The amount of time you are going on sabbatical leave
  • How to place a sabbatical request

Sabbatical leave rules

The length of your sabbatical depends on several factors, including your age, your experience level, and your position within the organization. Some fundamental issues to consider in a sabbatical leave include the following:

  • Sabbatical period- how long do you plan to take off?
  • Do you need to apply for sabbatical leave?
  • Can you extend your sabbatical leave? If yes, how many times?
  • Will you receive any additional benefits during your sabbatical leave, such as travel allowance, health insurance, etc.?

In addition to these questions, there are other things you need to think about before deciding whether to take sabbatical leave. Last but not the least, when you decide to go on sabbatical leave, you must first discuss it with your manager.


If you plan to take a sabbatical, talk to your boss about it. Your boss needs to understand why you want to take a sabbatical and what you hope to gain by leaving. Moreover. it’s important to note that it is not possible for all companies to offer sabbatical leaves, if some do, note that all companies do not offer paid sabbatical leaves.

Thus, make sure that you conduct proper research on company rules and regulations before filing an application for sabbatical leave to pursue personal interests.


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Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.