Extended paid leave for long-time employees, or a sabbatical, is not cheap. This is why it is usually offered by big multinational corporations, as they have access to greater finances. At the same time, this benefit could lead to the exodus of employees in firms, the representatives of employers said.
They have responded to the recent demands of the trade unions organisation in the Slovak branch of Dell Technologies, which want the management of their company to implement a sabbatical for employees who have been working for Dell at least 10 years, while receiving wage compensation equalling 35 percent of their salary, the TASR newswire reported.
Threats of sabbaticals
Sabbaticals are not unfamiliar to many companies, said Martin Hošták, the secretary of the National Union of Employers (RÚZ), but they currently exist mostly in unpaid form.
“The form demanded by the aforementioned trade unions, in my opinion, is unrealistic in Slovakia,” he said, as quoted by TASR, adding that practically no company would be able to afford it, not just for financial reasons, but also because it would reduce their workforce.
Even now, there is a lack of workers on the labour market. This has been confirmed by recent data from the labour offices that report about 70,000 job vacancies.
“Sabbaticals would exacerbate this situation,” Hošták said, as quoted by TASR.
Companies, according to him, could explore other options, such as flexible work hours, social programmes aimed at supporting a healthy lifestyle or mental hygiene, as well as various types of education for burnout prevention.
No incentives for employers
Miriam Filová, spokesperson for the Federation of Employers’ Associations (AZZZ), said the companies are aware of sabbaticals, but added that it is not a cheap matter. This is why it is mostly offered by big corporations with larger financial resources.
“In the case of companies that employ only a handful of people, the absence of a strategic employee for several months could threaten the existence of the firm,” she told TASR.
At the same time, she noted that there are no incentives for employers to implement such a benefit.
“However, if they were to receive a greater tax relief or other incentives, companies may start considering these incentives,” Filová said, as quoted by TASR.