A sabbatical is generally suitable for everyone who needs a break from work. The first step towards this is discussing your plans with your employer. We recommend the following:
Before the discussion, you should think about the specific working time model and regulations you have in mind.
Contact your employer well in advance and inform them that you want a break. Be open about your reasons and motivation.
Show them why the the employer would also benefit from you taking a sabbatical.
Try to provide some suggestions for any issues which remain unresolved. Make every effort to take the interests of your employer into consideration.
Keep a written record of all of the details of your agreement with your employer. The more detailed your agreement is, the lower the risk that there will be any misunderstandings when you come back to work.
In the part-time model, you agree to a temporary part-time contract for a predefined period. However, you will actually be working full time hours, simply with a lower level of pay. The unpaid overtime is built up in an overtime account. You can then use the time you have saved up to take your break.
If you choose this option, only part of your salary will be paid over a predefined period. The other part is saved as credit. While you are on leave, you will continue to receive the decrease salary without having to work.
These two models involve working for a certain amount of time before your sabbatical, but your employer will continue to pay your salary along with social insurance contributions.
Unpaid leave is frequently used for sabbaticals. Under this model, your employment contract is put on hold during your sabbatical. However, this also means that you will not receive a salary or social insurance contributions from your employer if your sabbatical lasts for more than a month.
While planning your sabbatical, you should consider what will happen with where you live while you’re away. Simply leaving it empty can cause a few problems, including arousing the interest of some unwanted guests. Running costs will also mount up and have an impact on your financial planning. You might have pets or well loved houseplants which somebody will need to take care of. You should therefore find somebody you trust to check that everything is okay on a regular basis. One more tip: Find somebody to sublet your apartment or house to. Then you won’t need to worry about your empty home during a sabbatical, and can improve your budget situation. This may also be an option for you if you are renting. However, you must tell your landlord that you are planning to sublet. If your landlord does not grant the consent, you may have a legal right to sublet your accommodation in certain circumstances.
You must make sure that you will have adequate insurance while you are overseas!
You must arrange health insurance which you can use while travelling overseas. If you are a member of a statutory health insurance provider, you should arrange additional private insurance to ensure that you have full health coverage while abroad. You will be covered by statutory health insurance in most European countries. If you are travelling outside of Europe, you will require health insurance which you can use while travelling abroad. This is available for a few euros per year if you are going on a short trip of up to 8 weeks. If you will be travelling for longer, your contributions will be largely dependent on your age, where you are going and how long you are going for.
You will also have to cover your pension and employment insurance if you are taking unpaid leave during your sabbatical. You should get advice from the relevant authorities as early as possible, as your contributions will be relatively low as somebody taking the insurance voluntarily if you will not be receiving an income during your sabbatical.
Liability insurance is also important as mishaps can affect anyone, even overseas. Liability insurance will give you protection against the financial consequences of any damage that you cause, and will settle the claim for you. Most liability insurance policies are valid everywhere. You should renew your private liability insurance policy if necessary. We are happy to help and give your advice about what to look for when choosing your liability insurance policy.