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A Return to Sabbaticals

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A few months ago I wrote about sabbaticals and wanted to swing back around and clarify my position – especially since I may have been proven wrong about a couple things.

In my original article, I stated that sabbaticals were the domain of relatively few professional services firms (consultancies, law firms, accounting firms, etc.). However, recently published an article with some SHRM research stating otherwise.

Roughly 11 percent of large companies offer paid sabbaticals to employees and another 29 percent offer unpaid sabbaticals, according to the latest data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Even though paid sabbaticals are typically the province of large companies, 16 percent of small companies and 21 percent of mid-size companies today do offer unpaid sabbaticals. ((Sahadi, Heanne, June 13, 2006. “The World’s Best Perk.” Retrieved from on September 25, 2006.))

The point of today’s article is not to sit around telling you I’m wrong. The point is for you to take a look at the cnn article as there are some great examples of how sabbaticals have been applied at various organizations.

Unlike some of the companies mentioned in the cnn article, do NOT use your paid or unpaid sabbatical for extra vacation time. As I originally stated last month, mMake employees do something meaningful. Meaningful could be as obvious as doing some time with a charitable organization, pursuing research or some type of personal growth. Meaningful could also be spending time with family or exploring the world – all under the category of personal growth. Sabbaticals are extra free time that you’re giving your employees. Make sure that they are going to use it well. If they aren’t, then keep them around at work.

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