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Why Companies Should Offer Sabbaticals

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 22, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you've got a really great hire, the last thing you want to think about is that person taking an extended leave. After all, it doesn't seem to make sense to pay someone to take time away from your business.

But sabbaticals aren't just for academia anymore. Businesses from law firms to craft breweries are granting employees sabbaticals (and in some cases forcing their employees to take an extended leave). So what's the secret to offering your employees sabbaticals?

Employee Joy

Twenty-five percent of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For offer paid sabbaticals, and that's no coincidence. It's not just large corporations offering sabbaticals, and it's not just lower level employees taking paid time off. Most companies that offer sabbaticals reserve them for employees who have been in the company for 7 to 10 years.

While keeping employees in the office and task-oriented can hone their focus, it can also grind them down over time. Instead of having employees cash in their vacation and take time to look for a new job, you can reward the best of the best employees with an extended vacation and get them back recharged and rejuvenated.

Employee Advancement

Having your staff exposed to new ideas while on sabbatical can only improve how your business functions. And a little time away can give an employee more perspective on what works, what needs improvement, and what needs to go.

At the same time, the employees that remain in the office can benefit from others' time out. Lower level staff can step up into roles with more responsibility and possibly demonstrate that they are ready for advancement. Or restructuring teams can reveal a flaw you didn't know was there.

Sabbaticals aren't just nice rewards for loyal and successful employees -- they can also be valuable tools for attracting and retaining staff and for keeping your company focused and efficient. If you'd like help setting up a sabbatical program at your small business, try getting in touch with an experienced employment law attorney.

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