Is there a difference between a career break and a sabbatical? Both terms are used to define (unpaid) time away from work for any number of reasons – travelling; training or further education; to pursue a hobby; or to spend more time with family. There are no laws covering career breaks or sabbaticals, but it’s important to be aware of the implications of allowing such leave.
If you are considering allowing employees to take leave under these arrangements, consider implementing a policy to make the procedures clear so that you, and your employees, know exactly where they stand. The policy should include how employees can apply; eligibility requirements (eg based on length of service) how the leave will effect continuity of service; benefits and annual leave; and the rights with regard to returning to their role.
A career break is an informal break; the individual usually resigns from his or her post and therefore relinquishes all employee rights and benefits. The period taken off is for as long as the individual wants as they are no longer obligated to an employer.
A sabbatical is usually a formal period of leave for a shorter, set period of time whereby the individual retains employee status and the ability to return to the same (or similar) role after a period.
In both cases, there are implications which need to be considered:
Return to work
Depending on the agreement before the leave, the employee may be able to return to the same job and benefits they left on. Consider how you will deal with employees returning to work in terms of updating them on changes since they were away, re-integrating them with the team, and dealing with any employee who provided cover in their absence.
If the leave has been for a longer period, it’s worth going through a similar induction process to that of a new starter so the employee is introduced to new members of staff, new products and services and have a period in which to settle back in.
PSHR are on hand to offer advice and guidance please contact us on 01473 653000 or at firstname.lastname@example.org/.