For almost a decade companies such as Polaroid and 3M and more recently Google have been offering the paid 15-20%, where employees get paid to explore their own interests. A paid sabbatical for everyone is an opportunity to inject into higher education, in its broadest sense as education beyond high school, with that same sense of a freedom to learn, to play and to explore new things at a time when lifelong learning is becoming mandatory. Life happens, and everyone, not just elites, should be given the opportunity to learn again without having to worry about how they are going to pay their daily bills.
Everyone will have the right to a sabbatical every 7 years beginning at the age of 18. A 6 month grace period will be offered. If the sabbatical is not started within that grace period, the sabbatical goes into a bank. Banked sabbaticals will be randomly assigned to petitioners to the extent it is fiscally sustainable (ie. for every four unclaimed sabbaticals, one is given to a petitioner). A person can petition for a hardship sabbatical, if it has been at least three years since the last paid sabbatical. Hardship sabbaticals will be for those that have experienced recent job losses and/or were deemed to have attended failing public schools ie. “dropout factories”. The unemployed will draw on a hybrid funding model to the extent they already receive other assistance.
The sabbaticals will be paid for with an income tax similar to that used in California and New Jersey in the United States for their paid family leave programs. Similar to California and New Jersey, this program would be built on top of an existing department, and overhead would be limited to payments. In-kind donations of seats in classrooms will be donated by learning institutions (private and public universities, community colleges, bootcamps). Similar to public schools in the United States, all employed individuals are required to pay into the system even if they decide to opt out of the sabbatical.
Participants are eligible to take up to a full load of courses for 1 year through the consortium of learning institutions as able.
Participants will be eligible to intern at a participating organization, and will be recognized as students for all intents and purposes as required by internship laws and guidelines.
During the sabbatical, as reasonable, participants will be asked to check in for data purposes (ie. tracking skills gained, mental and physical health, etc.) on a monthly basis both with automated systems and members of the sabbatical community.
Participants will be expected to join existing sabbatical groups of past and current participants.
Participants will be required to share a reflection within an existing Sabbatical group. Proof of sharing this reflection will be required to receive the last month's subsidy.