What is a sabbatical leave: definition, meaning, ideas

What is a sabbatical?

The word sabbatical is derived from the Latin word “Sabbaticus” which means the cessation of something when a person could take time to rest and recuperate. Sabbatical is common in academia, but nowadays it has ceased to be the prerogative not only for scientists and teachers but for specialists in different spheres. Harvard was the first to establish sabbaticals in 1880.

Anyone can take a sabbatical and travel. A sabbatical is a long break from work, the duration is usually from two months to a year.

Usually, people go on sabbatical to get things done, learn, or do research. You don’t have to stay at home to do this, you can travel the world and achieve your goals. The essence of such a break is to change the situation, renew and gain strength. For those considering embarking on a sabbatical to travel, partnering with a reputable travel software development company can enhance the experience by providing access to innovative tools and resources designed to streamline planning, booking, and navigation during your journey.

If you arrange a vacation for a few months, you will come back full of energy. In addition, you will simply continue your work, and it will not take effort to train anyone from scratch.

Benefits of sabbatical

A sabbatical can benefit both you and your company. A change of scenery is essential for developing creativity and a new line of thought, and can also help you develop new skills or simply get rid of unnecessary habits and stereotypes.

Also, the sabbatical of one of the specialists can be an excellent test for the strategic planning of the company. If one employee goes on vacation, the company can see how well the other specialists are coping with their duties and replace him, and take the necessary steps to improve the situation.

How long is a sabbatical?

Sabbatical is a paid long vacation lasting from three months to a year (and more than 1) with a guaranteed retention of a place for an employee. Such a professional time-out.

Basically, people take a sabbatical to improve their qualifications and get additional education. There are other reasons: travel, health restoration, wedding, relocation, etc. This type of vacation is provided by many European and American companies: Google, Adobe, Intel, IBM, eBay, American Express and others.

The grounds for granting sabbatical are work on a candidate’s or doctoral dissertation, writing textbooks, monographs, scientific papers. During the sabbatical, the employee retains his job and is paid his average earnings. A sabbatical leave for work on a doctoral dissertation can last up to 6 months, and for work, writing a textbook or scientific work – up to 3 months.

With regard to leaves in connection with training in universities, the above-mentioned norms provide for the provision of an employee studying in correspondence or evening form, from 20 to 40 days of leave for laboratory work, tests and exams, as well as 4- one month leave for the preparation and defense of the thesis. During such vacations, the employee also retains his average earnings.

However, you’ll need to reask your employer if their company policy allows it at all. Otherwise, if you feel a real burnout, you’ll need to think on a long vacation or maybe to change a job. 

How to take a sabbatical?

The nuances of registration of a sabbatical leave should be set out in the internal acts of the institution. However, an approximate design scheme can be distinguished:

  • An employee submits an application asking for an extended rest. Mention should also be made of the length of their continuous service.
  • The administration is considering the application.
  • If a positive decision is made, information about maintenance is entered into the general vacation schedule.
  • An order for granting leave is drawn up. It is compiled in the form of T-6 (if there is one employee) or T-6a (if there are several applicants for maintenance).
  • If the vacation is paid, it is required to draw up a calculation note, on the basis of which all payments will be made.

Why is the correct sabbatical form so important? 

The documents drawn up may be required for inspections by the labor inspectorate or other official bodies. The employer will be able to prove that he really provided the sabbatical required by the employee by law. This is especially important in a tense relationship with an employee.

Sabbatical ideas

Today sabbatical means to stop working, to take a break from your career so you can travel the world, write books, study, or even try a new job. It usually lasts a year and is a growing trend in Western countries, especially in the UK.

So now let’s take a look at what you could do in your free time, to make it more interesting and more useful.

Here are some sabbatical ideas:

1. Go in for sports

So, during your digital sabbatical, why not promise to lose those pounds once and for all?

Start by walking or take an exercise program. Then go running, cycling and swimming. If you’re feeling really daring, start hitting the gym and start pumping iron.

2. Time for innovation and creativity

Leading up to sabbatical, it’s time to tackle all the other projects that are in the background.

You can erase this canvas and easel and paint a gorgeous portrait worthy of any art gallery in the world. Or do something with your own hands – take some wood, nails and other tools for the house and build a treehouse for the kids.

3. Interact with the real world

So turn off this computer, head into the offline world and see what you were missing. Eat in a restaurant without ordering food delivery. Talk to someone without submitting a Facebook friend request. 

4. Develop the best sleep schedule

So, during your digital sabbatical, you have vowed never to use a laptop or tablet device (or your smartphone for that matter) in bed. Devices should be turned off at least an hour before bedtime, and they should remain in the drawer of the nightstand (or preferably in another room completely). Over time, you will notice a significant improvement in your sleep.


If you feel stressed, you have no motivation and you understand that you are burning out, you don’t have to try to just get through it all. Often the best ideas come to us in moments of relaxation. And the sabbatical – no matter how long it lasts – is an amazing way to relax and take a different look at solving complex problems.

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