Employers are looking for ways to give additional benefits to employees. For example, with the amount of stress and burnout that COVID-19 caused employees and the number of significant changes in how we work, more companies are offering sabbaticals as an additional benefit. Providing this benefit can give organizations the upper hand when competing for employees.
What is a sabbatical, and how does it work?
A sabbatical is a period away from work, either paid or unpaid, where staff are still employed and can use their time off for whatever they would like. There are no laws surrounding sabbaticals and how to utilize them, so if they are offered, it is up to the organization’s policy to determine how they are executed.
The general practice for organizations is to offer the benefit of a sabbatical to employees who have been employed for a longer period, on average, five to ten years. A common practice on how long a sabbatical should last, is at least four weeks, and up to three months, but there is no minimum or maximum requirement. The difference between a vacation and a sabbatical is the length of time off and how frequently you can utilize the benefit. Although vacation time is usually calculated yearly, sabbaticals take place once every few years. They are also an incentive for employees to stay and be rewarded for their tenure.
Benefits of a Sabbatical for the Employee:
o Foster a culture that emphasizes personal development
o Ability to recover from burnout or avoid it altogether
o Opportunities to gain knowledge, experience, and develop skills
o Have the chance to travel, start a new hobby, or spend longer time resting without the need to quickly come back to work
Benefits of a Sabbatical for the Organization:
o Improved retention: The more motivated and happier your employees are, the less likely they are to look for jobs outside the organization
o Succession planning opportunities: it’s a good way to give other employees some stretch goals when more senior-level employees are out
o Increased creativity and innovation: giving employees the space to think and pursue personal interests
o A more satisfied workforce
How Can an Organization Make Sabbaticals Work?
Creating a working sabbatical policy for your organization can seem daunting. Starting with a conversation about employee eligibility with your leadership team is a good jumping-off point. After determining the number of eligible employees you have, consider how much time off you could offer those employees. Then create a checklist of things that you must cover while eligible employees are off. If this is a benefit you would like offering your team, Kiwi Partners is here to help. We will help you navigate the questions that need to be answered and guide you on how to make sabbaticals work for your organization.