Workplace Sabbaticals: Bonus or Entitlement?
By: Daniel C. Kramer
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Sabbaticals for everyone? Not quite, but there's plenty of good reason to extend them beyond academia and into selected sectors of the world outside. Lawyer and teacher Daniel C. Kramer shows from his own meticulous...Read more
Sabbaticals for everyone? Not quite, but there's plenty of good reason to extend them beyond academia and into selected sectors of the world outside. Lawyer and teacher Daniel C. Kramer shows from his own meticulous research and others' that sabbatical programs that now exist have produced greater benefits than costs, and that they could be spread to most of the American work force with a simple amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. They must be conceived and administrated commonsensically, of course, and there will always be places where they won't work. But there's enough evidence that they will work--primarily in organizations of more than 50 people--and in the public and private sectors both. A challenging, thought-provoking book for policy- and executive decision-makers throughout the country, and new fuel for debate within the academic community as well.
Kramer summarizes just about all of the existing research on the topic and finds that the benefits of sabbaticals to those who have taken them far exceed whatever disruptions they may have caused to their organizations. He examines for-profit companies, high tech as well as the more traditional ones, and not-for-profit and governmental organizations too. He looks at elementary and secondary schools, medical settings, and churches and reports on the personal experiences of many who have taken them, summarized from other books and articles as well as from what was disclosed to him personally in the course of his own conversations with more than 100 people in various work settings. Sabbatical grantees travel, spend more time with their children, or just relax--and most of them return to their desks more enthusiastic about their work and better able to do it than before they left. From the organization's viewpoint, Kramer finds that sabbaticals are not as costly as many think, nor do they impede the work flow as some fear--not if they are administrated with ordinary understanding of the basic principles he carefully elucidates. He concludes with a discussion of how such programs could easily be mandated into law, and gives a final, persuasive argument why he thinks they should be.
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