Sabbatical Leave Policy

Bishop’s Office Staff

A sabbatical leave is not intended to be a vacation, nor is it intended to be something routine. The sabbatical leave provides an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal; for enrichment and spiritual growth; for study, travel, skill development or special projects; and a time for prayer, rest and reflection. It is a gift to both the leader and to the community, providing an opportunity for new ideas, new possibilities, and the deepening of the life of each.

The Northern Illinois Synod provides sabbatical leaves with the following guidelines:

Qualification: Sabbaticals shall be available to the Bishop or Assistants to the Bishop who have served at least six years in those titled offices. Individuals are expected to remain in the office at least one year following the sabbatical. Less than half-time assistants are not eligible for sabbatical leave.

Duration: Sabbaticals shall be a minimum of two months and a maximum of three months. Since part of the purpose of a sabbatical is renewal, sabbatical time shall be taken all at once. Sabbatical time will be pro-rated based on time worked – half-time assistants and up will receive sabbatical time based on the amount of time worked (half, three-quarter, or full). A sabbatical is not to be seen as a replacement for vacation, but it can be taken in conjunction with vacation time.

Process: Only one staff member at a time can be on sabbatical leave. There will be no restrictions on the time of year, but the timeline will be approved by the executive committee of the synod council. The individual applying for a sabbatical leave will bring a plan to the executive committee at least six months prior to the sabbatical. The sabbatical plan will include a component of educational value, as well as a report to the synod council upon return. The appropriate means of that report is up to the individual. The staff, in conversation with the executive committee, will plan for the sharing of responsibilities during the time of the sabbatical leave.

Costs: During the sabbatical time, the individual will receive full salary and benefits. Those with a synod vehicle will retain use of that vehicle under the current system of tracking personal and business (for example, transportation to a specific continuing education site) mileage. Accrued continuing education funds can be used for the costs of the sabbatical.