The first thing you should do is look at your company's handbook to see if there is a policy on either sabbaticals or leaves of absence. Determine if your leave fits one of the given policies; if so, that is the foundation for requesting leave. If you don't fit any of the policies, you will have to make your case from scratch.
Either way, you should carefully consider the following: When do you want to go out? When will you return? Will this be unpaid or paid leave? Is there a benefit to the company? Who will handle your responsibilities? Will there be a cost to the company to hire a replacement for you? Consider what you'll do if your employer denies your request.
Your best bet is to put your proposal in writing with as much detail as possible. This way, your employer can give it careful consideration.
If your leave is considered a sabbatical, your employer will likely hold your job for you. However, with a leave of absence this may not be the case. The bottom line is that you should be sure to think through all aspects of requesting a leave before going to your boss.
Sheridan Falvo is HR manager at GCI Group.
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