Here is a sample sabbatical policy based on actual policies used by firms:
1. Eligibility. All partners with five years of service will be eligible to take a sabbatical every five years. All managing associates with seven years of service will be eligible to take a sabbatical every seven years.
Partners and associates must be in good standing with no intent to leave the Firm.
2. Length. A sabbatical will be three months in length for partners and two months in length for managing associates.
3. Scheduling and planning. Partners and managing associates, in consultation with the managing partner, should select a period that is most compatible with their normal work cycle. No more than X partners/associates (or X percentage or X within the same practice group) can be gone at one time.
A properly planned sabbatical and work-coverage process will demonstrate good delegation skills and provide opportunities for others in the Firm.
While away, partners and managing associates are encouraged to undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit and ultimately contribute to the collective benefit of the Firm.
4. Compensation. The employment relationship and all related agreements remain in effect.
Health, welfare and retirement benefits will continue as elected, and deductions will continue as usual. Holidays and other time off will be available during the balance of the year, however partners/associates are requested not to schedule normal vacation so near their sabbatical period so as to cause undue hardship on the remaining members of the Firm or disrupt our ability to provide superior client service.
In no event will a partner or managing associate be entitled to any payment for unused or forfeited sabbatical time accrued, including upon termination of employment. Any partner/associate who has taken a sabbatical within the 12-month period prior to his or her departure from the Firm for any reason other than death or disability shall reimburse the Firm for the income received during the sabbatical period.
5. Additional. Work during the sabbatical will be strongly discouraged. The Firm will disengage the individual from receiving e-mail and phone calls during the sabbatical period.
NOTE: This leave is not intended to be an extension of the Family and Medical Leave Act, short-term disability/long-term disability and/or any other current benefit provided by the Firm. This policy does not constitute a guarantee of continued employment. Rather, employment with the Firm is on an “at will” basis.