A sabbatical (from the Hebrew: שַׁבָּת Šabat (i.e., Sabbath); in Latin sabbaticus; Greek: sabbatikos σαββατικός) is a rest or break from work.

The concept of the sabbatical is based on the Biblical practice of shmita (sabbatical year), which is related to agriculture. According to Leviticus 25, Jews in the Land of Israel must take a year-long break from working the fields every seven years.[1] Starting with Harvard in 1880, many universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and academics offer the opportunity to qualify for paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave.[2][3] Early academic sabbatical policies were designed to aid their faculty in resting and recovering, but were also provided in order to facilitate "advancements in knowledge in vogue elsewhere...an intellectual and practical necessity" for both the professors and university education more broadly.[4] Present day academic sabbaticals typically excuse the grantee from day to day teaching and departmental duties, though progress on research is expected to continue, if not increase, while away. Academic sabbaticals come in the form of either semester-long or full-academic year terms.

A sabbatical has also come to mean a lengthy, intentional break from a career. The popularity of sabbaticals for non-academics has increased in the 21st century: 17% of companies offered some sort of sabbatical policy to their employees in 2017, according to a survey by the Society For Human Resource Management.[5] There are very few norms and expectations for non-academic, or professional, sabbaticals. They can be paid or unpaid, affiliated with one's employer or self-directed, and have a variety of durations, from several weeks to over a year.

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  1. ^ Meyer, Esias E. (2005). The Jubilee in Leviticus 25: A Theological Ethical Interpretation from a South African Perspective. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 236. ISBN 978-3-8258-8805-3.
  2. ^ Else, Holly (16 April 2015). "Sabbaticals: no longer so open-ended or available?". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  3. ^ Eells, Walter C. (September 1962). "The Origin and Early History of Sabbatical Leave". Bulletin, American Association of University Professors. 48 (3): 253–256. doi:10.2307/40222893. JSTOR 40222893.
  4. ^ Eliot, Charles (31 May 1880). "Harvard University Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer". Harvard University Annual Reports 1879-1880. Retrieved 24 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "2017 Employee Benefits" (PDF). Society For Human Resource Management. February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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