Sabbatical Leave Meaning, Importance & Types

Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: September 07, 2021

What is Sabbatical Leave?

Sabbatical Leave is the allowed extended absence of individuals by the employer from workplace while being employed for the reasons of achieving life goals or address other important matters. This is a benefit provided by the organizations to its employees. Sabbatical Leaves may be paid or unpaid.

The trend of Sabbatical Leaves originated from universities, where paid leaves were provided to its faculty members for carrying out research work, writing etc. Sometimes these are just referred to as Sabbatical.


Importance of Sabbatical Leaves

Sometimes in life due to certain factors, an employee may want to take a break from career. Many a times there are no provisions and the employees end up quitting the job and rejoining the same or other company later on when they want to restart. An option of taking a break and joining back in your role and job gives a good option to the employee. 

This becomes very important in retaining good employees. At many places, sabbatical leaves are used as a perk and an option for improving work life balance. More than a perk, it can be very critical for an employee to retain a job in case sabbatical is availed for a serious issue like health.

It also gives a fresh perspective in many cases to the employee to take time off and reskill. This will help the employee become better and add more value to the organization.


Types of Sabbatical leaves

Sabbatical leaves are leaves which are granted to employees to take a break from work and focus on their personal goals. Long-serving employees with a proven track record are only preferred as they are an asset to the company. Companies have this policy so that employees can rejuvenate and do the following:

1. Pursue higher studies/Reskill

This is the type where the employee takes sabbatical for pursuing a full time higher study course for reskilling or upskilling. In this kind the employee acquires new skills and is reassessed while coming back to the organization as per the new skills or degree.

Sabbatical Leave

2. Achieving Personal life goals

This is where an employee takes a break to complete some of the personal life goals like travelling, completing some important personal work, trying something new in career like authoring a book.

3. Improve work life balance

A Sabbatical can be taken as a time off from hectic schedule and spend some quality time with one's family. A person can spend time taking a break, pursuing some hobbies and reducing the work stress in the life. This can also be done at a part time basis.

4. Health or medical issues

Sometimes due to urgent medical issues with oneself or family, a person may have to take a break from the career. In this case, a temporary break of few months or an year can help resolve the issue and take care of the oneself or the family member.

After the issue is resolved, the person may join back.


However, as a part of the sabbatical leave policy, employees are supposed to:

1. Continue working for the company for a specific period post the sabbatical leave.

2. Not engage in any information sharing or activity with competitor.


Advantages of sabbatical Leaves

There are a lot of merits with the option of sabbatical.

For employees

• Improved relationships: Sabbatical Leaves give the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and families thus improving personal relationships

• Learning new skills: This time can be utilized to learn new skills and brush up on the old ones. New trainings and qualifications can be perused in this time.

• Relaxation: Away from the everyday hectic routine, one has ample time to destress and relax.

• Increased management skill: Spending a few months away on a sabbatical leave from the regular schedule helps one gain experience of managing themselves and their life in a new setting

For employers

• Recharged employee: The extended leave relaxes the employees and thus their productivity increases once they are back at work

• Good PR: It increases the employee-employer relationship and can be used as a PR tool to attract new recruits


Disadvantages of Sabbatical Leaves

There are few disadvantages as well:

For employees

• Difficulty of fitting in: After an extended sabbatical leave away from work may lead to difficulty in coming back to the workplace and fitting in easily as things might have changed at work.

• Cost: Unless it is a paid sabbatical, the cost of maintenance may be too high and may force once to take up another job.

• Career set back: Being away from work for too long may even make the importance of the employee lesser and the earlier attention enjoyed by them may become redundant. This can also result in hampering any chances of promotion or career progress.

For employers

• Cost: In case of a paid sabbatical leave, the employee is practically a cost to the organization as they are completely non-productive.

• Overburdened employees: If a teammate goes for a sabbatical leave the onus is on the other teammates to take care of his work and responsibilities. This might lead to stress among the other employees.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Sabbatical Leave along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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