Royal Bank of Scotland introduces sabbaticals

The Royal Bank of Scotland is planning to introduce a paid sabbatical leave scheme in a bid to retain its skilled staff.

The details of the scheme have yet to be formalised. But Jim Cowan, senior consultant, remuneration and benefits at RBS, said the company is thinking of paying employees the same salary during sabbaticals, but this would be conditional on those who want to take a paid break participating in a special savings plan.

“We [already] offer employees the opportunity to apply for a short-term [un-paid] career break. [The plan] would allow people to pre-plan [better]. They might save over the next few years and build up a pot to buy that sabbatical, so in the period where you’re absent you’ve still got a steady income.”

Cowan said the bank is considering paying contributions towards the sabbatical in response to changing workplace demographics and the need to encourage staff retention.

“Employers are probably going to have to respond by building much greater flexibility into regular working patterns. [People might] want to work until [age] 70, but may want some quality time off before that, perhaps while they are still fit and healthy enough to enjoy it. If you’re not accommodating, they may leave,” he said.

RBS is also negotiating with Apple to provide iPods in a HM Revenue & Customs-approved tax deal, and is looking at a discounted contact lens scheme for its 110,000 staff.

Cowan said data analysis had revealed staff who take up annual product offers are more likely to stay with the company.