If you want to take a career break – maybe to travel or do some voluntary work overseas – your biggest hurdle could be getting permission from your boss. But with ‘jobs for life’ on the decrease, more employers are recognising that letting staff take sabbaticals is good for morale, development and retention.
Employers don’t have to offer career breaks and there are no laws that deal specifically with this, so it is simply an agreement between you and your employer.
If they agree, you can make arrangements to return to work after your career break. However, these are not legally binding and it could mean ending your existing employment contract. Similarly, you are unable to take legal action if your boss decides you can’t return to your current job or a similar position.
If your employer already offers time off for career breaks, find out what you have to do to qualify and how to apply.
If your company does not offer sabbaticals then you may have some convincing to do. You will need to show that your colleagues can cover your work or suggest that someone could temporarily fill your role in an ‘acting’ capacity. You also need to explain why you have worked hard to deserve this time off, as well as emphasising the skills that your career break will enable you to bring back to the job on your return.
This will clear up any possible confusion when you return. For more information on career breaks, visit: www.gov.uk/career-breaks.