Why more companies should offer sabbaticals

Summary:In the U.S. employee sabbaticals are rare. But maybe they shouldn't be.

How many people do you know who have been paid by their company to take a sabbatical? If you're from the United States you probably don't know many people who have been fortunate enough to get that long, paid break from work, unless they're in academia.

Just how rare are fully-paid sabbaticals from work in the United States? According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey [PDF], only four percent of U.S. companies offer paid sabbatical benefits and 16 percent offer unpaid sabbaticals. Even at CNN's so called "100 best places to work," less than one-quarter paid their employees to take paid sabbaticals.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why companies are hesitant to provide employees with a large chunk of time off, from concerns about costs and implementation to worry that employees might not want to return.

But there are also some good reasons why it might be worth the risk. One of those companies that pays their workers to take a sabbatical is Clif Bar, the maker of organic energy bars. Here's how the company has benefitted, as Huffington Post reports:

At Clif Bar, they’ve helped boost other workers who filled in while their colleagues were on sabbatical, Perkins said. The perk also helps to prevent employees from burning out, which can be a costly problem for companies; presenteeism -- or workers showing up to the job sick, or unengaged -- hurts companies in the form of reduced productivity and increased healthcare costs, research shows. In addition, when workers return from taking “a breather” they’re usually more productive, according to Stanley.

And those companies worried their employees will leave after getting a taste of work-free life should take note. Clif Bar's turnover rate is less than three percent.

Read more: Huffington Post

Photo: Flickr/andresAzp

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation


Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter.

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