Supporters: Company Sabbaticals
Taking a career break doesn’t always mean you need to leave your job or company, especially if you love where you work and what you do. In fact, a career break or sabbatical is a great opportunity to become rejuvenated in your career and environment. And many companies in the US offer some sort of sabbatical program for their employees.
Sabbatical programs are a great way for companies to build employee loyalty and retention. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute, 24% of small businesses and 14% of large businesses allow their employees to take sabbaticals (paid or unpaid of six months or more).
Some companies that provide paid sabbaticals include Intel and Morningstar. Intel provides eligible employees with an eight-week sabbatical, with full salary and benefits, after each seven years of full-time service. Morningstar believes that their sabbatical program is one of the most touted benefits of working for them. According to their website “Every four years, you are granted a six-week paid leave to explore, experiment, and experience. What you do is up to you. We view the sabbatical program as a way of saying thanks for helping us grow, and as a way to help you grow.”
And companies like REI offer unpaid time off. Their Personal Leave of Absence program allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to pursue any personal interest including volunteering, traveling the globe or going back to school.
During downturns in the economy, sabbaticals also allow companies a way to avoid layoffs of experienced employees. Accenture created a voluntary sabbatical program called FlexLeave, which allows consulting personnel an opportunity to take a voluntary sabbatical for a period of six to 12 months, while earning 20 percent of their salary and retaining full benefits.
During this economic crisis, it’s worth investigating to see if your company might offer this incentive.
If your company doesn’t already have a sabbatical program, it is worth discussing creating one with your HR department. Develop a list of goals that you hope to achieve during your career break and how they can be applied to your role in your company.
In addition to retaining a loyal employee, your career break offers another benefit to your company. It is believed that in the future, companies are going to have to offer some sort of sabbatical program, as younger generations will expect it as part of their benefits package. According to Quintessential Careers, an online career development site, “Generation Y gets the concept of lifelong learning, and seek employers who offer tuition reimbursement, sabbaticals, and other types of learning experience.”
You can help prepare your company for the future workforce.
We’d love to hear from you:
– Share with us your company’s sabbatical program
– Let us know if you helped craft a career break with your company – Share here.