Posted by: Susan Gaddis | November 5, 2009

How To Ask Your Boss for Sabbatical Leave

928387_sign_streetAfter you know you need a sabbatical, you will want to make plans to take time off from work. If your church, corporation, or business has a sabbatical plan as part of your employment contract, you are already ahead of most of us.

If, however, you are approaching your employer with an idea that is totally foreign to him, you will need to plan your appeal judiciously. Here are some suggestions to help you outline your request:

1. Present your sabbatical plan in terms that your employer will find beneficial to his company. If you are a pastor, explain to your church board how a sabbatical will benefit the congregation.

2. Be flexible about the time off. Certain times of the year are more busy for some businesses than others and your sabbatical should not conflict with your employer’s busy season.

3. Offer to train someone to cover your duties while you are gone.

4. Discuss your financial needs if your company or church is willing to help with the financial coverage of your sabbatical.

5. Ask if your current position will be available for you to return to after your sabbatical. If not, ask if an equivalent job can be held for you.

6. Write out your proposal and leave it with your employer when you are done.

7. Give your boss some time to think about your proposal. Ask him when you can expect to hear back from him concerning your request. If he does not get back to you as expected, check in with him and ask him what he has decided.

8. If the answer is negative, consider other options. Could you do your job from any place in the world if you had internet connection? Would your boss consider your sabbatical an investment in his company if you included furthering your education while on sabbatical? What is the possibility of looking for another job with the prospect of a sabbatical tucked between the old and the new?



  1. Thanks for this topic, Susan. I love your blog! I’m such a believer in the power of sabbaticals that I spend my time and work life advocating for it with businesses. I also think it’s critical that we promote the companies that offer regular sabbaticals for their employees. Here’s a list of 100+ “Workplaces for Sabbaticals”. Perhaps your readers might find this a useful tool.

  2. Thanks for the nice comments, Elizabeth. I found your website to be a wonderful resource and will place it on my blogroll so others can access it. There seems to be a shortage of sites that address the subject of sabbaticals and the many topics that go with planning and taking one. Good for you to promote the whole package in so many ways. Again, thanks for your input.

  3. Thank you so much, Susan – you’re very kind. I will do the same – we’ll add you on our Resource Links at

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