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Does your employer have a sabbatical program?

Started by Jamie, August 11, 2018, 07:39:37 PM

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I'm curious how many employers offer sabbaticals these days. Does yours? Have you ever considered taking one?


I worked in construction most of my life, so the benefits were limited and sabbaticals were out of the question. We were expected to show up and work without complaining. We all complained anyway, and some guys were unreliable, but it was what it was. When projects dried up, I'd sometimes be out of a job for weeks, even months at a time. I was able to collect unemployment at least, and although some time off was good for my back, it wasn't good for my finances. A sabbatical sure would have been nice, but it wasn't something I ever expected to get in my line of work.


I've worked in financial services for three different private companies. None of them had a formal program but there were a few people who took them at two of the three firms. The sense I got was if you were senior enough with a solid, long lasting track record you could negotiate terms to get at least some of the time paid depending on how long you planned to be away. The smaller of those two companies was pretty generous with employee benefits, even though what was offered varied from one office to the next.


My brother used to work for Genentech and I remember him saying they had a sabbatical program. It was something like six weeks if you've worked six years I think. He was halfway through his fourth year there and was trying to decide if he should stay on to try and take one or jump to a new job. He ended up leaving for a better job later that year so he never had the chance to take that sabbatical. 


My company does and I took advantage of it last year.

Some notes:

  • The company has full discretion on whom it approves, so if you are a poor performer or have had performance issues likely you won't get approved. Probably if you have been with the company less than a few years the same applies. This is just my guess however.
  • Up to 3 months unpaid for any personal reason.
  • Medical benefits continue, but no vacation accrual or bonus vesting during the time away. Equity vesting does continue for 3 months, which is interesting.

We were making an international move, so most of the time away was spent settling in to our new location. It was fantastic - forgetting all about the job for a couple of months was great.

As a side note, I would say nearly 100% of the other people who have taken unpaid leave have come back only to switch jobs :) I feel like I'm one of the few who have come back and stayed.


My old employer did, but I sadly never used it!

We got one month paid for every 5 years worked. We could take up to 3 months sabbatical, with the 2nd month 70% paid, and the 3rd month 30% paid.

I was at my old firm for 11 years and I should have used it, but there was always this pressure to work hard due to the variable year end bonus. Further, my bosses never took sabbatical, so it was hard.



I have been with my current firm, a middle-market financial services company, for nearly 10 years. There is no sabbatical program, though a number of my clients have taken one at their firms. Those seemed to be 4 paid weeks after 7 years of service. I would definitely participate if it were an option!


My brother is taking one soon, It think it's 4 weeks.

His company did a good job of using perks to keep him around. After a couple of years he got options. But then it was a couple more years for them to vest. And then once he vested, the sabbatical was a couple years out. He's rather loss adverse, I think at any point if there wasn't some big benefit to stay around for he'd have left.

In technology and other stressful, person-centric jobs I think they make a ton of sense. I'm at a small company that couldn't really afford it, but I'd institute them if I could. If it keeps people around longer,  and fights off burn out, that's a huge win for the cost.


No, my employer does not offer sabbatical! I see a lot of people saying their employer does! That is so sad for me