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How to write a letter requesting a sabbatical

Updated February 21, 2017

A sabbatical is a leave of absence from work for personal reasons. Typically, people take sabbaticals to discover themselves, explore the world or even to deal with life changes. A sabbatical is a voluntary request to leave a job anywhere from a few weeks to a year with the ability to come back to that job at the end of the sabbatical. Most people are not paid for this time off work, nor is it mandatory that any employer honour any request to take a sabbatical.

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  1. Read the company policy manual at your place of work to find out if your company has certain requirements for sabbatical requests. Some places require you submit your request several months in advance in an effort to find and train a temporary replacement for you.

  2. Begin writing your request for sabbatical. Write your name, address, phone number and e-mail address at the top right corner of your request. Write your boss's name, the company name and company address below your contact information and on the left side of the page.

  3. Start your letter with "Dear Mr. Your Boss's Name Here." Beneath your boss's name, write that you are requesting a sabbatical, the date you plan to leave and the date you plan to return. Note that you will fulfil any outstanding obligations in the time before your departure as well as train your replacement and transition your workload to your temporary replacement in a smooth and efficient manner.

  4. Provide information regarding your sabbatical and how it will affect your life, education and/or work performance. For example, if you are taking leave from your job as a paediatrician to help a clinic in a Third World country, you need to address it in your request letter. State how your sabbatical will help your company, such as allowing your employer to advertise its aid in providing Third World medical care.

  5. Include a sentence or two stating that while you are eager to take your sabbatical to learn more about your job/yourself/your education, you are looking forward to returning to your position with a renewed and invigorated attitude. Make a note that you are available to discuss the matter further and include all pertinent contact information.

  6. Tip

    Highlight any aspects of your sabbatical that benefit your job; companies are more apt to grant your request for a sabbatical if it will improve your work performance, education or the company in some way, shape or form. State your goals for your sabbatical. If your request to work for six months in a Third World country will teach you a new language, you should mention it as a goal in your request.

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About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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