Finally, leaving the stress behind and just living – many managers associate this vision with the magic word “vacation”.
Everyday life in the world of work is sometimes stressful – even a strenuous Corona period does not make things easier. Some employees just want to break their work routine and take a longer break from work. This is possible, for example, during a sabbatical.
When is the right time for a sabbatical?
“It depends on the person,” says Ute Bölke, career coach at Wiesbaden. The trigger for the desire for a longer break from work may be fatigue, burnout or a period of Corona. Many also want to take time off to rethink their professional lives and change their orientation – for example, if they have worked for many years, explains Silvia Hänig, head of the consulting firm Ikom in Munich. Another motive could be a structural change in your industry. Or you would like to gain new knowledge during further training. “The right time for a sabbatical also depends on the economic situation of the employer,” says Hänig. If the company is in the process of restructuring, it is not worth asking your boss for a break. Even if a company develops new business areas, Hänig believes it is better not to confront your superiors with wishes.
How long is usually a sabbatical?
This is also different. It may take a full year, but sometimes only nine, six or three months.
How far in advance should employees plan it?
According to Hänig, employees should report their concerns to the company’s management at least six months, preferably one year in advance. In this way, the company can look for a replacement for the duration of the sabbatical. “The larger the company, the better it is able to compensate for the loss of staff with a career break,” says Bölke.
How can employees protect themselves legally?
Employers and employees must agree by contract to stop work for several months. The document should also state the right to return to the former position – if the employee so wishes. It also makes sense to agree with the employer to prohibit redundancies.
How financially is the sabbatical?
“Employees can take unpaid special leave, for example,” says Bölke. However, employees who are dismissed from work are required to pay for health and long-term insurance themselves. There is a possibility of exemption from pension and unemployment insurance. It is also possible to work before or after the sabbatical. “The advantage is that the wages continue to go to the bank account and the employer still pays social security contributions,” explains Bölke. Already worked overtime is added to the working time account. Workers can also get their wages at a reduced rate for a while – or have their employers hand over their holiday pay and holiday pay later. Often a part-time model is also possible. Employees work full-time for a correspondingly lower salary. The employer then pays the saved wages later in the layoff phase. Employees should arrange this before commencing their study leave.
Who can take such a break?
“In the past, a break from work was something for the constantly stressed managers who were climbing their way up,” says communication consultant Hänig. It has changed since then. Study leave is no longer a privilege for managers and other directors. “However, in my consulting practice, study leave is more common among scientists than among craftsmen,” admits Bölke.
Is there a right to study leave?
In the public sector, yes, but in the private sector this is usually not the case. However, it is possible that the right to study leave is anchored in an employment contract or collective agreement.
What can employees use their study leave for?
Building a house, traveling around the world, further training – everything is possible. Employees are not required to inform their employer of what they are doing during their study leave. “But it’s good to cooperate if you let yourself know,” says Hänig. In addition, it can be an advantage if you also explain the benefits of a study leave to the company – especially if your employer is not required to approve the study leave.
Does annual leave look good on your CV?
Yes, Haenig thinks. Anyone who has taken a sabbatical demonstrates confidence and signals: I take my career planning into my own hands. “Especially if the reasons for this are plausible, it looks good on your CV,” emphasizes Bölke.