Why you may want to consider implementing a paid sabbatical policy

A paid sabbatical could help employee retention during a time when turnover is expected to rise.

A paid sabbatical could help employee retention during a time when turnover is expected to rise.

These days, more employees are not making the most out of their paid time off, but what if they were offered a paid sabbatical? This pre-determined paid break from work is common practice for college professors, but it may be an emerging perk in the business world, according to Inc. Magazine.

Among Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For list, about 25 percent of companies implemented their own paid sabbatical policy. Across American companies, 5 percent of businesses incorporated paid sabbatical leave into their compensation packages.

Similar to paid time off (PTO), staff members would process such a request within the company's HR software, but the time period automatically allots three months worth of leave, whereas standard PTO can range from a few days or weeks.

MeetUp, a business based out of Silicon Valley, found a way to make room for a paid sabbatical among a team of 75 employees. MeetUp CEO Scott Heiferman told Inc. he decided to implement such when he felt refreshed from his own sabbatical.

Workers who have been a part of Heiferman's business for at least seven years are eligible for the program. This way, workers have the opportunity to try "something new without losing them for good."

During this long-term break, staff members will receive a summary of what happened in the office, but they are not required to chime in.

"[I] read it with detached interest," Heiferman said. "Like I was reading the New York Times."

Paid leave for such an extended period of time may appear daunting at first, but the cost of temporarily losing a worker may be lower than permanently losing a team member who becomes "burned out." As the American economy continues to grow, it is likely that turnover rates may increase as employees begin to feel confident about their chances of being hired at another job.