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Taking a Sabbatical: Employer’s Perspective

Firms are often very reluctant to allow employees to take a sabbatical. A study done by Fierce Inc, a global leadership development and training company, shares the three common fears faced by employers when it comes to offering a sabbatical.

  1. Reduced Productivity

Employers are often concerned about how they will cover someone’s responsibilities if they are out of the office for an extended period of time. Productivity will most likely suffer if there is not a strong remaining workforce or a lack of effective delegation.

  1. Cost

Sabbaticals can be rather costly for businesses. The organisation may still agree to pay for the original employee while he/she is on sabbatical. Additional expenses may be incurred to hire temporary workers and deal with the effects of a downturn in productivity.

  1. Apprehension about the reason for the sabbatical

Employers are less likely to allow a sabbatical if the worker does not have a set reason or plan for wanting this time off. The benefits or disadvantages of providing sabbaticals depend on the reasons for taking the extended leave. Most employees want the opportunity to spend time with their family, learn new skills or take the time to travel and relax, all with the objective of recharging their batteries. Patricia Koekemoer, MD of Professional Sourcing, believes that it is important that employees have a clear reason and direction for their sabbatical period to ensure that it is a worthwhile experience.

Some career experts are in favour of sabbaticals and believe they offer the following advantages to businesses:

  • Allows workers to step back from their role at work and focus on personal enrichment and professional development
  • The goal of a sabbatical is to return to work with more focus and energy
  • Allows for aspiring employees to take on more leadership roles
  • Shows the organisation’s commitment to the well-being of their employees
  • Returning employees often bring new idea generation and more confidence

Organisations must develop and enforce a workplace policy for sabbaticals if they want to allow it. This policy will help minimise disputes and explain fully to employees the business’s approach as to how and when to take sabbaticals.

Sabbaticals offer both pros and cons to companies, so it is important for employers to look at the individual circumstances of the company, as well as the position and importance of the employee when making a decision.

Professional Sourcing can answer your questions regarding sabbaticals. We are a top-tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally.

Professional Sourcing has a strong reputation for highly developed recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas. We develop strong long-term relationships with our loyal clients and bluechip employers. Allow us to help you deal with your frustrations of a lengthy hiring process.

Professional Sourcing is a top-tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally, IPM accredited, LEVEL 2 BEE RATED and 51% Black Owned.

Our agency specialises in professional placements (senior and specialist talent) and exclusive skills recruitment to a wide range of industries, including JSE’s top 100 companies, SMEs and the Public Sector. -- Patricia Koekemoer

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