The secret vacation perk you might have after 5 years at your job
In order to slow travel, live abroad, or take an RV trip around the US, you might not need to quit if you've been at your employer for 5+ years. Instead, you might be eligible to take a sabbatical. A mini-retirement.
A sabbatical is different than a personal leave of absence, namely:
It's a perk and your return to work is guaranteed.
A sabbatical is a form of protected leave, just like FMLA.
Practically, this means you're entitled to it and you don't need to get permission. You would just work out the timing. And there's way less anxiety about returning to work.
Here is Adobe's sabbatical policy:
Here are the highlights:
- Available every 5 years
- Benefits continue (unlike a LOA)
- You still get paid
- You can take it within 2 years (so, at year 7 you can take your 5-year sabbatical)
- 5 years = 4 weeks off
- 10 years = 5 weeks off
- 15 years plus = 6 weeks off
Every company's policy is different.
At General Mills, it was every 7 years but you could take up to a full year off – but you didn't get paid and had to pay for benefits continuation. At Target it was the same but every 5 years.
With those two, the policy stated your return to work was guaranteed but it might not be in the exact same role (or even salary) if you took a sabbatical longer than 4 weeks.
Practically it's more likely things will stay the same. At General Mills after my 6-month sabbatical, I returned to work in a new team by choice to work with my friend. I returned at my same pay but soon after got a raise in the new role. At Target, I look a 10-week LOA but still returned to work in exactly the same role and pay.
If you aren't ready to quit or you mostly enjoy your job, a sabbatical is a great option to take a break. You could:
- Build a product (I did a major revision of KTOMG during my sabbatical)
- Spend time with family (summer off!)
- Travel around the world (we lived in France then traveled around Europe)
- Live in the woods (a coworker camped for 3 months in the Boundary Waters)
- Extend your education (take classes or get a degree)
Plus, if you have a policy like Adobe's, you may not even need F U money to take advantage of this perk.
If you've been working for more than 5 years at your employer, you might be eligible to take a sabbatical – so go check!