A sabbatical (from the Latin sabbaticus, from the Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbathon, i.e., Sabbath) is a rest from work, a hiatus, typically 2 months plus. The concept of a sabbatical has a source in several places in the Bible (Leviticus 25, for example), where there is a commandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year. In the strict sense therefore, a sabbatical lasts a year. However, in recent times, a sabbatical has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual. In the modern sense, one takes a sabbatical typically to merely take a break from work or to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or traveling extensively for research. Some universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and/or academics offer a paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave. Some companies offer an unpaid sabbatical for people wanting to take career breaks — this is a growing trend in the UK, with 20% of companies having a career break policy, and 10% considering introducing one.
Sabbaticals are often taken by professors, pastors, cartoonists (e.g. Gary Larson and Bill Watterson), musicians (e.g. Cindy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin) and sportsmen (e.g. Alain Prost) and fund managers (e.g. Geoffrey Brianton). Academic sabbaticals typically follow every six years of full-time employment. The most common arrangement is for a half year at full pay, or a full year at half pay.
In UK and Irish students' unions, particularly in higher education institutions, students can be elected to become sabbatical officers of their students' union, either taking a year out of their study (in the academic year following their election) or remaining at the institution for a year following completion of study. Sabbatical officers are usually provided with a living allowance or stipend.