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is a sabbatical a good idea?


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#1 Green Gummy Bear

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:09 PM


DH currently works full time. There's a new scheme at his work, where he can continue to work full time, but only get paid at a 0.8 rate. After four years, he then receives one year off work at that same pay rate. His job is fully secure, he can walk back into it at the end of the year off, no issues.

We are very much in two minds over whether this is a good idea or not. After tax and what not, the drop in take home pay if he does do it isn't very much at all, so we can easily absorb that. And it would mean that he'd be here for a year and be more involved in the day to day things and school events that he misses at the moment. On the other hand, there's concern that he'll go stir crazy being home for a year, and that it may end up being too much time together for the both of us (I don't work and likely won't be then either, at least not in a full time capacity).

Using the year to travel is not an option.

So, would you do it? Would you not do it? The kids will all be a bit older by the time the 5th year rolls around, so that's less of a factor. But is it really a break or a time out if there's no real purpose behind it?


#2 seayork2002

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:12 PM

Personally no unless  one of us had an actual reason too like study or travel help DS with something (or another peraon)

So as you said travel is not an option.

I am for it if a person chooses too !!!

Just not for us (unless reason too)

#3 Etta

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:18 PM

Is there the option that he can just work a four day week? That way he can be involved with the kids and you don't have the all-or-nothing effect of having a year off.

#4 Ivy Ivy

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:19 PM

Would he want to get another job for that 1 year - i.e. have a new work experience?
Or would you like to hand over the household reins to him, and work PT or FT for that year?
Sometimes it's good to take unknown paths in life.

A year off, paid - wow.  It's a gift.  I'd write a novel, learn a language, get fit, start an instrument, go back to uni and do a few degree subjects, and get involved in some local community activities, for starters.

#5 Green Gummy Bear

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:24 PM

View PostEtta, on 18 September 2019 - 07:18 PM, said:

Is there the option that he can just work a four day week? That way he can be involved with the kids and you don't have the all-or-nothing effect of having a year off.

Unfortunately not. It'd be too disruptive within his workplace, whereas a year is much easier as the whole period is covered.

View PostIvy Ivy, on 18 September 2019 - 07:19 PM, said:

Would he want to get another job for that 1 year - i.e. have a new work experience?
Or would you like to hand over the household reins to him, and work PT or FT for that year?
Sometimes it's good to take unknown paths in life.

A year off, paid - wow.  It's a gift.  I'd write a novel, learn a language, get fit, start an instrument, go back to uni and do a few degree subjects, and get involved in some local community activities, for starters.

I'm not sure what the rules around another job are, would have to investigate that a little. I can't imagine that's something he'd want to do though, as it would defeat the purpose a little. In my mind at least.

There was talk that I'd be able to do my Masters that year, and him being home would make the placements manageable, but as they run over two years, that in itself isn't really an option either. Depending on where he is in his career, he may be ready to take on further study.

I think it's just the big unknown that makes it hard for me - 5 years is a long time away. It's hard to know what either of us or the kids will want or need then.

#6 Jersey Caramel

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:26 PM

I'd rather just work 0.8 now.  DH and I both work 0.8 and it works perfectly for our family.  We have equal access to career opportunities etc but also equal access to school events,  domestic duties etc (though I probably do a bit more on that side because my work is more flexible and very close to home). My work is offering the sabbatical scheme too, but I would rather have a better balance continuously rather than a complete year off without a specific purpose in mind.

ETA just saw that 4 day week is not a possibility, that's a shame.

Edited by Jersey Caramel, 18 September 2019 - 07:27 PM.


#7 JBH

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:36 PM

What happens if you resign before the sabbatical? Do you “bank” the extra and get it paid out? Would potentially be tax implications of a payout, but better than essentially losing the money.

#8 SM3s Fight Song

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:30 PM

View PostJBH, on 18 September 2019 - 07:36 PM, said:

What happens if you resign before the sabbatical? Do you “bank” the extra and get it paid out? Would potentially be tax implications of a payout, but better than essentially losing the money.

Or got made redundant? Or company folds. Probably a bit cynical but Id wonder why the company is running this scheme. Is it a morale thing or are they trying to the cut the wages bill.

#9 Dianalynch

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:47 PM

^^it's a pretty common scheme, it's been in all the enterprise agreements I've negotiated...if you leave generally you just get paid out for the leave equivalent...which might bump you up to a higher tax bracket

If the pay doesn't impact you now yes I'd do it - a year off is a gift. You both have four years to figure out what to do with the time, and can enjoy the planning :)

#10 blimkybill

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:49 PM

I think it is a great scheme if you use it for a genuine sabbatical - ie to go somewhere different and do something different to build your skills, knowledge or experience. Or even to travel as a family. But I suspect it wouldn't work well if he was just going to stay home. I think a full time worker would be very bored suddenly not working at all, and would be tempted to just go back to work. Would he be interested in studying, or something to add more value to the time off?

#11 DragonsGrace

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:54 PM

One of DHs best friends has done this as a high school teacher. He and his wife (casual primary teacher) made plans to travel with their sons before they started high school in a few years. He is currently on his year off and they spent 10 months travelling around Australia and to the States. When he started doing his 4 for 5 thing they originally planned to either work as teachers based in either the uk or the states for the full year but changed their minds quite a few times before they actually started the year off.
He doesn’t plan to go back to teaching next year so he’s using the rest of the time off to retrain and/or change careers (he’s been offered a job with FACS).
They found that in order to have their kids out of school for longer than 3 terms they’d need to jump through more hoops re: homeschooling criteria etc, so decided to return earlier than they planned.



#12 Deep thought

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:57 PM

Sounds amazing. Both working 0.8 and being around more now, and then a year off paid. He would need some goals, side projects, get involved in kids school pick ups, community projects, education etc, surely everyone has those things they wish they could spend time on. Being paid would make the break that much more validating. It sucks that travel isn't an option of course!

#13 Tokra

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:18 PM

That sounds like a pretty awesome idea!

I'd go for it. It will probably feel pretty good to know that you have a whole year off coming up. Kind of like light at the end of the tunnel.

You've got 4 years to plan for what he is going to do. Maybe he will want to study, maybe you will be at work, maybe... maybe... maybe!

If you can handle the pay cut, do it!

#14 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:21 PM

View PostDeep thought, on 18 September 2019 - 08:57 PM, said:

Sounds amazing. Both working 0.8 and being around more now, and then a year off paid. He would need some goals, side projects, get involved in kids school pick ups, community projects, education etc, surely everyone has those things they wish they could spend time on. Being paid would make the break that much more validating. It sucks that travel isn't an option of course!
I read it that he is working full time now, and only getting paid 0.8

#15 Ellie bean

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:24 PM

I’d do it in a heartbeat. You don’t need a purpose. I mean there’s presumably just as much purpose to him being home for that year, as there i to you being home every year. If you get in each other’s way, you can presumably get out of the house and let him have the time at home.

#16 Kallie88

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:30 PM

If it was our family I think we'd go for it, dh deserves a bit of a break tbh. But of course it depends on your family. What does your dh think? Is there anything he might like to do if given that sort of time?

#17 Deep thought

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:36 PM

Oh, right. Yeah that changes it. I would still consider it (and have income high enough that 0.8 is enough) but not a no brainer- depends on the drive to do other non work things. I love the idea of a long break but still having a job to go back to at the end of it.

#18 lizzzard

Posted 18 September 2019 - 10:52 PM

I’d absolutely do it! But only to do something special like volunteering for a non profit, doing research or achieving some other goal or experience. Think big! What is your DH inspired by? The chance to take a year off is an amazing privilege- use it wisely :)

ETA a good point above - maybe your DH could stay home to allow you to achieve a dream??

Edited by lizzzard, 18 September 2019 - 10:54 PM.


#19 SeaPrincess

Posted 18 September 2019 - 10:53 PM

This was offered by my employer many years ago, but not for my role because I was on a contract to another company, with rolling extensions. In a permanent role, I would definitely consider it - I would have no trouble finding things to do!

#20 Emm27

Posted 18 September 2019 - 11:29 PM

My partner and I are considering this as we’d love to take the kids traveling for a year (we’ve previously taken this on a four month road trip when we had long service leave.) However it’s not really feasible for a while as by the time we’d get to the fifth year the kids would be too old to take out of school. But as soon as they’re in uni/workforce we’d jump at it.

#21 ~J_F~

Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:32 AM

I would absolutely do it.

But then I am a person who doesnt understand why people think there has to be a purpose in that time off!

I could easily and happily fill my days with no purpose at all!

#22 SM3s Fight Song

Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:38 AM

View Post~J_F~, on 19 September 2019 - 06:32 AM, said:

I would absolutely do it.

But then I am a person who doesnt understand why people think there has to be a purpose in that time off!

I could easily and happily fill my days with no purpose at all!

Me too, but if the DH is anything like mine he'd go stir crazy.  Some people need to feel like they're achieving.  DH could probably take a year off and use it to coordinate renovations and get the garden right and study or something.  Me Id just love a year off to rest and recover.

#23 MsLaurie

Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:20 AM

My mum sort of did this, by using long service leave. She did it as a trial retirement, seeing how she felt about exiting work.

But to be able to do it earlier would be wonderful. A few projects around the house, a small holiday, time to get a little bored, do some volunteering you’d always thought about... the year would easily fill up and it would be a great chance to recalibrate.

#24 MarigoldMadge

Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:05 AM

I’d do it in a heartbeat, especially if it gets paid out if he leaves before 5 years - forced savings!

Does he have to take the year off, in that he does the .8 for 4 years but decides he only wants to do 6 months, or not at all, and they just pay him out instead?

Not sure how old your kids are, but you doing the Masters sounds great, especially if you do the second year when he goes back to work, and just call on resources etc to get through.

If I had a year off, the dog wouldn’t know himself, he’d be walked so much, I’d read the paper everyday, books, clean out the garage, de clutter the whole house, paint the house myself, drive around Tasmania during the school holidays, garden, volunteer, spend a week in bed, help at the school, iron my socks, take piano lessons, etc

It would be epic.

#25 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 19 September 2019 - 10:42 AM

View PostDeep thought, on 18 September 2019 - 08:57 PM, said:

Sounds amazing. Both working 0.8 and being around more now, and then a year off paid.

I think youve read it incorrectly - its working full time but only getting paid at .8

Something else to consider if you are paying off a mortgage and for super is compound interest. You miss out on .2 of your wages now but dont get the benefit until later, so you would want to calculate carefully how its going to impact you financially.

Im another one who works .8 normally and loves it.  DH was for a while too :)  We are way ahead on our mortgage though so its not an issue for us.




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