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Sabbatical leave

We understand there may be times when you would like to take extended periods of leave away from work to pursue other interests. This could be for reasons including, spending time with family, travelling, studying, or doing voluntary/community work.

A sabbatical is a period of approved unpaid leave which allows you to take this time, without affecting your continuous service. 

Eligibility #

How much sabbatical leave you are eligible to apply for is linked to your length of service.

You can apply for more than one sabbatical during your employment. There must be a period of 12 months between returning from one sabbatical and applying for another.

Sabbaticals are a discretionary benefit. It may be that we cannot accommodate your request, even if you meet the eligibility criteria.

We will always give you clear feedback on why and discuss any alternative solutions with you. 

How to apply #

  1. We recommend having a chat with your line manager first to make them aware of your request.
  2. Send an email to the People team, your line manager and your director detailing the reason for your request and start/end dates for your sabbatical. This should be done at least 8 weeks prior to the requested sabbatical start date. 
  3. Your director and line manager will consider the request, and the Head of Delivery may be involved in the decision process, depending on your role. If all parties are in agreement on granting the sabbatical, the People team will consult with the Director of Finance for final approval. The outcome will be communicated to you within two working weeks.
  4. Each request will be considered on an individual basis taking into account a range of relevant factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

    • Financial implications
    • Workload implications for colleagues
    • Impact on quality of work/level of service provisions
    • Any previous sabbaticals taken
  5. If the request is approved, the People team will send a sabbatical agreement outlining the details of the sabbatical.
  6. Once your signed sabbatical agreement has been returned, The People team will adjust BreatheHR and make any other updates as required. 

If your request is declined, you can submit an appeal to the Head of People, in writing, within 7 calendar days of receiving the outcome of your sabbatical request. You will receive a response to your appeal within 2 calendar weeks. There will be no further appeal beyond this stage.

Accruing holiday while you’re on sabbatical leave #

Our dxw standard holiday entitlement, for a full time employee, is 25 days + all UK bank holidays. Whilst on sabbatical leave, you will continue to accrue holiday. However, this will be at the statutory rate of 28 days per annum. If you are part time, then pro-rated calculations will apply. 

Any bank holidays that fall within your usual working days, and occur whilst you are on sabbatical leave, will be added back into your holiday entitlement for use upon your return.

We expect holiday entitlement to be taken roughly as it accrues throughout the holiday year. If you are taking sabbatical leave, you will usually be expected to use any accrued holiday by the start of the sabbatical period. Depending on the request, we may also ask you to take annual leave at either end of your sabbatical.

If you have any questions relating to using your holiday, please contact your line manager or the People team to discuss this further. 

Salary and Benefits #

During the period of your sabbatical, you will not receive your salary and, as a result, your pension contributions will stop.

Employees who are in receipt of our Electric Vehicle scheme must continue with their payments during the period of sabbatical leave, in accordance with the relevant agreement made. 

Employees who are signed up to our Cycle-to-Work scheme will be able to pause their payments during the period of their sabbatical leave.

All other benefits will continue as normal. More detailed information will be included in the sabbatical agreement.

Taking a sabbatical will not impact negatively on your career progression. If a dxw-wide salary increase is granted during the time you are on sabbatical leave, you are still eligible to receive this, and this will be applied to your salary from your return date.

Contractual Arrangements #

Apart from the information outlined above, all other terms and conditions of your employment will remain the same throughout any period of sabbatical leave. 

Keeping in Touch #

We recommend that you decide with your line manager how often, and through what methods, you will keep in touch while on sabbatical leave. You should also discuss any handover of work in detail with your line manager and your team ahead of your sabbatical beginning. 

In most cases, you will be asked to keep hold of your device and any other equipment during your sabbatical period. Your device will remain under the terms of your Employee Equipment Agreement. The People team can provide you with a copy of this.

Returning to work #

We want to make sure you feel supported returning to work after an extended period of leave so you should also agree when you will check in with your line manager, prior to returning to work ahead of ending your sabbatical.

Last updated: 10 January 2024 (history)