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Sabbatical leave in the private sector

Verified 27 novembre 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Sabbatical leave is leave for personal convenience granted to the employee. The profit of this sabbatical year is subject to conditions. The employer does not have the obligation to grant sabbatical leave to the employee. The leave shall be for a minimum and a maximum period. During the sabbatical, the employee's employment contract is suspended.

An employee wishing to be granted sabbatical leave must fulfill all of the following conditions.

Age in the company

The employee must have at least one seniority 36 months in the company.

The length of service taken into account may be taken into account over several non-consecutive periods of work in the undertaking.

However, a collective agreement or agreement may provide for a different length of service.

Years of work

Employee must have performed 6 years of professional activity.

Shortage time between 2 blends

The employee must respect a waiting period..

The employee must not have benefited in the undertaking, on the date of departure on leave, during the previous 6 years:

The employee must inform the employer of his wish to take a sabbatical leave at least 3 months before the planned departure date.

The employee must address the request to the employer by any means that can justify the date of the leave request (e.g. letter or registered e-mail).

The employer shall inform the employee:

  • either by agreeing on the date of departure chosen by the employee,
  • the postponement of that date, or
  • the refusal to grant leave.

In the absence of a reply from the employer within 30 days of the submission of the application, sabbatical leave shall be granted.

The agreement, postponement or refusal of the employer are subject to conditions. They vary depending on the size of the company:

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Companies with less than 300 employees

Employer Agreement

The employer shall inform the employee of his agreement on the date of departure chosen, by any means which can justify the date of his reply.

Postponement of leave

The employer may postpone the leave:

  • or 9 months as from the date of the employee's request to limit the number of employees absent on sabbatical leave,
  • or to limit the number of employees who are absent simultaneously on sabbatical leave and leave for establishment or resumption of business.

The employer shall inform the employee of the postponement of the date of departure chosen, by any means which can justify the date of his reply.

Refusal to grant leave

The employer may refuse to grant leave for one of the following 2 reasons:

  • if the employee does not fulfill the conditions for entitlement to leave (insufficient seniority, request to leave within too short a period),
  • if the employer considers, after Social and Economic Committee, that the departure on leave will have a negative impact on the smooth running of the undertaking.

The employer's refusal to grant a sabbatical leave shall be notified to the employee by any means which can justify the date of his reply.

The employee may contest the employer's refusal in the 15 days from the notification, by the referral to the prud'homme council..

Company with 300 or more employees

Employer Agreement

The employer shall inform the employee of his agreement on the date of departure chosen, by any means which can justify the date of his reply.

Postponement of leave

The employer may postpone the leave:

  • or 6 months as from the date of the employee's request to limit the number of employees absent on sabbatical leave,
  • or to limit the number of employees who are absent simultaneously on sabbatical leave and leave for establishment or resumption of business.

The employer shall inform the employee of the postponement of the date of departure chosen, by any means which can justify the date of his reply.

Refusal to grant leave

The employer may refuse to grant leave if the employee does not meet the conditions for entitlement (insufficient seniority, request to leave within too short a time).

The employer's refusal to grant a sabbatical leave shall be notified to the employee by any means which can justify the date of his reply.

The employee may contest the employer's refusal in the 15 days from the notification, by the referral to the prud'homme council..

The duration of the leave varies from 6 months minimum to Maximum 11 months..

However, a collective agreement or agreement may provide for different terms.

Consequences on the employment contract

During the period of sabbatical leave, the employment contract shall be suspended..

Compensation

Sabbatical leave is not paid (except treaty provisions or use opposite).

Paid Leave Deferral

If his sabbatical leave is not paid, the employee may finance it by part of his paid vacation..

The leave will then be taken and paid upon departure on sabbatical.

The conditions for such postponement shall be laid down by collective agreement or agreement.

In the absence of an applicable agreement or agreement, the employee may postpone each year the leave earned from thee week of paid leave until departure on sabbatical leave. Such leave with pay may be accumulated during 6 years maximum..

If, for example, an employee, entitled to 5 weeks of paid leave per year, decides to postpone his 5e vacation week:

  • He then accumulated 36 business days of leave at the end of these 6 years of professional activity.
  • His 36-working-day compensatory leave with pay allowance is then paid on his sabbatical departure.

Work activity during leave

During sabbatical leave, the employee may engage in another professional activity, whether employed or not.

However, it must respect the loyalty obligations and non-competition vis-à-vis his employer.

Early Recovery

The employee may not invoke any right to be reemployed before the end of his sabbatical

However, early return to the company is possible with the employer's agreement.

After a sabbatical, the employee returns to his previous job or a similar job in the company.

He shall receive remuneration at least equivalent to that which he received at the time of departure on leave.

The employee has the right to a professional interview with his employer dedicated to his career prospects.