Sabbat­ical: Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a sabbatical? How does it work? And what do I have to keep in mind during the planning phase? The most important aspects concerning the topic sabbatical will be dealt with in the following FAQ.

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What is the origin of a sabbatical?

The term šabat originates from the Hebrew language and can for once be translated with 'reflecting about yourself', 'to stop something' and 'to pause but may also originate from the number Seven (šeba = seven). The Tora describes the sabbatical as a year of pause for the farmland after six intense years of farming.

Originally the idea for the modern sabbatical came from the USA. Professors from US-American universities introduced the concept of the sabbatical to halt their teaching in order to dedicate their time and concentration on their scientific research.

At German universities this model is known as research semester and meanwhile it is also integrated in the daily routine of some companies.

How long is a sabbatical?

Even if a sabbatical commonly implies a whole year, it does not necessarily have to last that long. As there a no legal grounds for this kind of time out in Germany, the duration of a sabbatical may vary and can last from three months to more than a year.

The duration solely depends on the agreement with your employer. As several factors depend on the duration of your trip you should talk to you superior about it and agree on it as early as possible.

Who is qualified for a sabbatical?

A sabbatical is suited for everybody who wants or needs a work-related time out.

In general, a sabbatical is done by employees as well as freelancers, self-employed persons, entrepreneurs, civil servants – and also students can take a time off of work.

In its traditional form a sabbatical was limited on schools and universities and was only taken by teachers and professors who withdrew from their teaching profession for a certain time, in some cases even up to a year. This way they had the time to pause and to focus completely on their research.

Nowadays also a lot of school teachers take this time to have a break. Due to the lack of a legal basis, each company decides individually whether or not to grant their employees a sabbatical.

Whether you are an employee, work in the civil service or in the free economy, in a leading position or whether you are simply a person in need of a time out who wants to contribute to his or her good health – in our blog section you can find more information about this topic.

What can be motives for a sabbatical? What are the advantages?

As diverse the reasons for a sabbatical might be, also the advantages are quite diverse.

A sabbatical is commonly used specifically as a prevention against psychological illnesses like the burn-out syndrome. The time out from your job can contribute sustainably to get your head off of the stress at work as well as the daily routine you are stuck in.

Moreover, you will come back home with new strength, energy and motivation. You will discover other countries and get to know their cultures, you will return with better language skills and perhaps have participated in further education and training.

You will gain precious new experiences and will return to your job relaxed and refreshed with a whole lot of new experiences. As an employee you will be valuable to your company and therefore not only you, but also your employer will benefit from your sabbatical.

The time of your sabbatical can also be used for your personal development and unfolding: You can look for new challenges, try out activities in completely new areas and discover unknown talents.

Here you can find further reasons and arguments for your sabbatical

How can I design my sabbatical?

Body and soul need an occasional time out, but especially for people who are burdened with a high amount of stress at work, it can be hard to clear their head from work related thoughts.

A sabbatical can be the perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries and gain new strength.

Whether you want to travel, engage in a voluntary commitment, seek further education or want to start your own project – in our blog concerning the design of your sabbatical you can find ideas and suggestions for your career break.

How can a sabbatical be organized?

To make sure your sabbatical will be as close to the time out you have ever dreamed of, good organizing and sufficient time for your planning is essential. Our blog about common mistakes reveals aspects that you have to consider and should keep in mind during the process.

The conversation between your employer and you, different working time models and the financing of your career break – our website you with important information about planning and organizing your sabbatical.

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