26 February 2014
Want to take a sabbatical? Make sure you know the facts.
- You have no legal right to a sabbatical. A surprising number of people think they're allowed to take time off if they ask, but you aren't! The only legal right you have is if your company has a proper sabbatical policy, and then you must be treated the same way as everyone else who asks.
- Your sabbatical is paid. For a lucky few, it is, but the vast majority of sabbaticals are unpaid.
- They are a year long. Your sabbatical can be as long or as short as you like. A year is common, but so is 6 months or 2 years.
- You're still an employee while you're on sabbatical. Yes, even if you're not getting paid. You will not normally get a pay rise though, if you're on sabbatical at pay review time.
- A sabbatical agreement replaces your employment contract. It goes without saying that you should get your sabbatical agreement in writing, but we say it anyway because people still aren't doing it! Your sabbatical agreement is in addition to your employment contract, not instead of it.
- You're guaranteed your old job back. Actually, you're normally only guaranteed a job at the same level and salary, but it won't necessarily be the same job, unless your sabbatical agreement specifically states this.
- You can do what you want on sabbatical. Your employer can stipulate what you can and can't do to a certain extent, and most will demand that you don't do any other paid work while on sabbatical. Volunteer expenses are usually OK though.
- You can come back early. Your employer doesn't have to take you back early if it doesn't work out, so make sure you have a plan B in place!
Do you have any questions about your sabbatical? Ask them in the comments!