Sabbatical – What is it?

A sabbatical refers to a period of time off of your work – usually unpaid but can be otherwise depending on company policies – that generally lasts for about 3-12 months. A sabbatical can be a breather and provide you with the much-needed break so that you can get back to your original job profile (or a close equivalent) by the end of it.

It is important to note here that taking a sabbatical isn’t a sign of frailty or an unsound mind. On the contrary, it can pay you dividends in more ways than one.

Be it getting a new perspective to work to constructing projects to recovering from a debilitating injury that had been adversely impacting your work for a while, a sabbatical can be the near-perfect remedy to many a problem, personal and professional alike.

Will I get paid while I’m on a sabbatical?

Sabbaticals are commonly not paid for. However, it can vary across management boards and their policies. In academia, however, sabbaticals are usually paid should you want some time off work to focus on a more pertinent research or write a book that furthers development of the society.

Generally, a sabbatical has come to be accepted as an unpaid – mutually agreed upon – arrangement between an employer and employee.

What about terms and conditions?

While there are no specific laws governing sabbaticals, some of the more common terms and conditions that can influence your eligibility for one have been stated below:
  • You should have ideally completed a minimum period of service at the organization
  • You should have been at your best behavior within the organization
  • There should be a resource to cover for you during your absence

  • How can I take a sabbatical from my job?

    Once you have made up your mind about taking a sabbatical, it would be good to think about how to arrange one. For starters, inquire about your company policies and whether they permit one to go on a sabbatical. That is because unlike a break in career, which individuals might opt for during the transitionary period from university to a job, a sabbatical is subject to your employment and contract particulars.

    A few tips here can do you good:

  • While communicating with the concerned authority, present sabbatical as just an option that you’ve been deliberating over for some time now, and not a foolproof plan. It is always wise to leave room for negotiation.
  • Be flexible with the time. A sabbatical can range from anywhere between 3 months to a year. It could be that your company might need your services during that period.
  • Don’t brag about your sabbatical to your colleagues. Chances are your employer will not warm up to this attitude.
  • Make your employer see good reason behind you opting for that sabbatical. Instill the confidence in him/her that you would be returning a more skillful employee, capable of taking better decisions at work.
Also, do plan your finances and build an emergency corpus for at least six months to take care of your expenses during this period.

Learn more about Mutual Funds for a good personal financial management.


The information contained herein is generic in nature and is meant for educational purposes only. Nothing here is to be construed as an investment or financial or taxation advice nor to be considered as an invitation or solicitation or advertisement for any financial product. Readers are advised to exercise discretion and should seek independent professional advice prior to making any investment decision in relation to any financial product. Aditya Birla Capital Group is not liable for any decision arising out of the use of this information.

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