You have to consider this on a sabbatical

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You have to consider this on a sabbatical


The so-called sabbatical is very popular. Employees can take a professional break for up to 12 months. But there are some general conditions to be observed.


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Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images


Just take a break and get some distance from work – that sounds like a dream to many people. Employees have this option with a sabbatical. But what models are there? And what do employers and employees have to consider?

What is a sabbatical?

The term sabbatical is derived from the Hebrew word “?? abat” and literally means something like “pause” or “rest”. A sabbatical is a break from work that is usually between three and twelve months. However, some companies also give their employees up to five years of unpaid leave without losing their jobs. The time-out is intended to help improve the work-life balance and provide motivation for returning to work.

This term originally comes from the USA. American professors used this break to concentrate on their research. In Germany this regulation is known as the “research semester”.

Who is eligible for a sabbatical?

In Germany, only civil servants and employees in the public service have a statutory right to a sabbatical. In exceptional cases, such an agreement is stipulated in the collective agreement. As a result, most employees in the private sector have no legal right to appropriate time off. In some cases, the regulations even vary from state to state. “It always needs the employer’s individual consent,” says Eckhard Schmid, specialist lawyer for labor law at the law firm CMS Hasche Sigle, in an interview with impulse.

Civil servants must attach a sabbatical to an application for part-time employment. In order to be able to take time off, part-time work is carried out full-time. The sabbatical can later be taken consecutively for the saved working hours.

In the private sector, on the other hand, it is up to the employer to decide whether to offer such a working time model or to approve it on request. Exceptions are regulations that are laid down in a collective agreement.

What models are there?

The simplest arrangement is special leave. However, this can last a maximum of four weeks. In addition, the employee does not receive a salary in this case – but is still covered by social insurance.

Another option is unpaid leave. Here too, the employee takes unpaid leave. However, if the duration of the stay is longer than four weeks, the employee must take out health and long-term care insurance himself. The same applies to pension and unemployment insurance.

A wage waiver is also conceivable. With this model, the employee works full-time, but only receives part of his salary. He then receives the other part during the sabbatical period.

Regardless of which model is selected in the end, employers and employees must first think carefully about how the sabbatical should run. “Since there is no legal regulation, all agreements must be documented,” says Schmid. Finanzen.net editorial team

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