Employees are opting for sabbatical leave more often. Despite being in trend, only a few companies offer it.
Sabbatical leave is becoming a popular trend as employees are taking a break from their jobs, either to pursue further education or work on personal projects. Arpjit, currently working as a data analyst in a big e-commerce company is planning to take a sabbatical. “I was very keen to study more and add more to my resume but I was worried whether quitting my job would be a wise decision. But then I came across the option of taking a sabbatical. Now, I can improve my skills and come back with more to offer to the company,” he said.
These sabbaticals can also be taken to maintain a work-life balance or take a break. The Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) report on The Great Resignation shows that out of the top five reasons for quitting jobs, 29 percent were for maintaining a better work-life balance. A study by American Psychological Association shows that employees who opt for sabbatical leave experience less stress when they return and have improved performance.
The Society of Human Resource Management’s annual benefit report of 2021 states that 2,277 companies in India offered sabbatical leave. Comparatively, only 105 companies offered such leave in 2020. But those 2277 companies still just comprise four percent of the whole. Big companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Amazon, Adobe, etc. offer sabbatical leave in India but still a large proportion of employees have to quit their jobs if they want to take a break.
Rishabh (name changed) who worked as an editorial assistant in a publishing house needed some time off to complete his two months for his additional course in computer graphics. “I wanted to get an additional degree but my company was condescending towards my request. They implied that I should continue working the same as before, rather than studying further and applying for a new post.”
He further said that if his company had been more understanding towards his request, he would not have had to quit his job and would have had more skills to offer.
However, not all companies have the same opinion about sabbatical leave. Himanshi, who works as a Human Resources manager in a media house said, “Sabbatical leave is quite beneficial for an organization as this concept not only helps in employees’ retention but also helps prevent burnout.”