Sadly not every company has embedded the possibility of a sabbatical in their voluntary social benefits so that in the majority of cases an individual agreement has to be made between employer and employee. As there is no guarantee for such a time out and it depends basically on your arguments, it is very important to prepare yourself properly before talking to your employer. After your negotiation you should put down the general framework in written form with information like the length, you planned program and the starting as well as the end date of your sabbatical. If you don’t want to quit, it is also important to agree on a model to finance your time out. Here you can read more about models that are used in the civil service in Germany to get some ideas about possible agreements. For example it could be an option to waive a part of your salary for a certain time to save it in a long-term account. By doing so, you will receive the money you saved in your time of absence. Another solution for a paid career break might be saving your holidays as well as overtime. Furthermore, you can also agree on some protective measures during your time of absence like dismissal and insolvency protection. It is also important to agree on the terms and conditions of your return to the company, e.g. if it is possible to come back to your current position or if other options could be available.
As you usually don't have any legal ground for a sabbatical in a company and only very few companies have fixed arrangements, especially in a busy season it can be very difficult to be successful with your request. Nevertheless you should be aware that a possible rejection should have proper grounds as a simple rejection is discriminating, especially if a colleague was able to take a time out. In general, it can be said: The bigger the company, the better your chances. If there are more employees, it is easier to share responsibilities and to find someone who is able and also willing to temporarily cover your tasks. In the end, your sabbatical in the free economy is not bound to any rules and therefore the framework and the arrangements depend on your company as well as your individual effort and passion to make it possible. Only in regard of the duration, a sabbatical is often limited, especially if you are in a higher position with personnel responsibility.