Crafting a compelling sabbatical request: a Sample guide for employees

Feb 6, 2022

Picture this. You've decided that you're going on a sabbatical from work. You've worked out all the details of your activities. But one thing remains: sending that email to your manager to convey your absence. But where to start?

Writing an email requesting a sabbatical leave can be confusing. For starters, there are several things you should do before you can apply for a sabbatical from work. From understanding your organisation's policies, speaking to your HR, recruiting new teammates (if needed) or delegating your duties to your get the gist, right? Since a career sabbatical is not standard practice yet, you may forget one or two things in between.

Tips to follow when requesting a sabbatical from work

#1. Understand organisation policy

Know your organisation's stance on sabbatical leave. Understand the eligibility criteria, the policy on paid sabbaticals and the notice period you're supposed to follow before taking time off. This can help navigate a strategy for applying for a sabbatical. Don't shy away from asking for one if your organisation doesn't have specific policies on taking a sabbatical leave — you might just get one!

#2. Know why you want a career sabbatical

Speak to your manager to figure out what qualifies as a valid reason for a career sabbatical, then see if that aligns with your wishes. For instance, many organisations prefer that a sabbatical break is spent improving skills that'll upgrade your work. Yet others like it when these breaks are used to hone soft skills outside of work through volunteering or travelling. And with changing times, sabbatical for volunteering or taking a mental health break is also gaining popularity.

#3. Plan your post-sabbatical office return

When you speak to your manager about your sabbatical from work, don't forget to talk to them about your return to work. Ask your manager about the role you will be returning to and what your new responsibilities could be like. Make sure you hash out the details on paper so everyone's on the same page (pun unintended).

If you're not keen on returning to your place of work, you might want to consider a career break over a sabbatical!

Sabbatical email request samples

To get the ball rolling, here are some email request samples you can use:

Sabbatical request sample for travel

Hi <manager's name>, I'm writing this email to request a sabbatical leave for <enter duration> months. As you may know, I have been a part of this organisation for the past <number of> years, and I have progressed a lot in my career as a result of the role I play at <company name>. However, I believe the time has come to take a break, explore what's outside the organisation and immerse myself in new cultures.

During this extended break, I wish to see more of the world and understand how to pay better attention to myself. By seeking novel experiences, I plan to develop new perspectives that will allow me to be my best version at work.

I'm happy to arrange a meeting to discuss the details and ensure a smooth flow of work during my absence. Do let me know what time and date work for you.

Thank you for considering my request!

Best, <Name and Signature>

Sabbatical request sample for volunteering

Hi <manager's name>,

I have always believed in the power of giving back to the community. I recently found an opportunity to volunteer at <enter the name of the volunteering program> in <enter location>. The volunteering program lasts for <enter number of> months. I'd like to request a sabbatical leave for this period as it will help me give my 100% to the program.

The program's mission is very close to my heart, and taking a sabbatical leave would help me accomplish this dream of mine efficiently.

I wish to reiterate my commitment to the organisation, and I'll be happy to return to work once the volunteering program is over. Please let me know your convenience so that we can discuss the details of my sabbatical from work! Thanking you in anticipation.


<Name and Signature>

Sabbatical request sample for a mental health break

Hi <manager's name>,

I've been enjoying my work at <organisation> over the past <duration of employment>. However, in the last month I've been feeling unfocused and tired. I fear there may be deeper issues at hand, and want to catch it in time so I don't suffer, and neither do my colleagues in trying to cover up for me.

Keeping in mind that my mental wellbeing is as important as my physical wellness, I'm requesting a sabbatical leave for [enter duration] months.

The sabbatical break will be an excellent opportunity to get my energy back. Furthermore, the break will be helpful to assess the root cause of my emotions and seek any professional help, if necessary.

I wish to be fully engaged in doing my tasks once I'm back, and I'll be more than happy to help you plan on delegating my work to avoid any delays in commitments. Feel free to let me know your availability, and I shall be there to discuss the requirements of my sabbatical from work.

Many thanks for considering my request.


<Name and Signature>

Sabbatical request sample to take a course

Hi <manager's name>,

I'd like to request a sabbatical leave to complete my education. I currently catch myself standing at crossroads and see a need to upskill.

I have decided to take <name of the course> at <enter institution> for a duration of <enter number of> months. The course will benefit the organisation and me as it would help me develop skills such as <mention accrued benefits>, which will help me take our organisational goals to the next level.

I wish to reiterate my commitment to <enter organisation name>, and I plan on returning to work once my course is over. I wish to discuss the details of my sabbatical leave at your convenience. Furthermore, I'm enclosing details of my course and my acceptance letter for your reference. Thanking you in anticipation.

Best, <Name and Signature>

Sabbatical request sample to recover from burnout

Hey [manager's name],

After <number of> years of service at our organisation, I've realised it's time to hit the brakes for a bit. I've been experiencing symptoms of burnout including fatigue, dread, and a loss of motivation. I cannot do my best work when I don't feel like myself.

For this reason, I'd like to apply for a sabbatical starting from <enter date> for <enter number of> months.

I'm primarily going to focus on recovering from burnout during this period and inspect how I have led myself to this burnout. I'm optimistic that I will come back rejuvenated and ready to take on my tasks with better enthusiasm with this break.

I'm happy to discuss the details of this sabbatical break whenever you're available.

Thank you for considering my request!

Best, <Enter name and signature>

Sabbatical request sample to gain clarity about one's career

Hey <manager's name>,

After working here for <enter number> of years, I'm feeling stuck in my career. The past few months have been a blur, and it's time for me to assess the direction in which my career is headed.

I'd like to request a sabbatical leave from work for <enter number> of **months to gain clarity about my career. My years at <enter organisation name> have been some of the best years of my life. However, it's time for me to reconsider the path I'm headed in and take appropriate actions to make the best out of my opportunities. I'm confident that I'll be in the right headspace to meet organisational goals once I'm back.

Thank you for considering my request!

Best, <Enter name and signature>

Or... get a simpler solution to apply for sabbatical leave!

Emails have always been the preferred mode of communication. But as your organisation expands, your email becomes one of the thousand emails in your manager's inbox. This leads to delay in communication and a lot of missed signals. You'd think there's an easier way to apply for a sabbatical leave, and you're right!

With Pause, your sabbatical leave request can be approved at the click of a button. With our Slack integration, everyone in your team is notified of your absence through daily summaries and with an "Away 🌴" status next to your name.

Pause allows you to disconnect from your work by automatically declining meetings that are scheduled with you and allows you to custom create your OOO message. The whole aim of having an app like Pause in your toolkit is it allows you to be open about your availability at a single glance.

This is a W for you and your team members — so go ahead and tell your manager about it!

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