IELTS Writing Task 2 | Unpaid sabbatical time

Task 2 | Essay 4
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Some employers are willing to give their workers a certain amount of unpaid sabbatical* time, believing this benefits the individual and the organisation. Other employers see no merit in this arrangement and discourage it.
  • Consider the possible arguments for and against unpaid sabbatical leave, and reach a viewpoint of your own.
  • * Unpaid sabbatical time or leave = extended, unpaid time off work, in which an employee can follow personal interests or studies, and then return to work.
How to answer this essay?
  • Introduction:
  • Fashionable idea
  • For unpaid leave:
  • Motivating; workers are refreshed
  • Low cost; can help with restructures etc
  • Against it:
  • Disruption; people need to be replaced
  • Workers lose interest/go to competitors
  • More suited to academic work, research etc
  • Conclusion:
  • Problems outweigh advantages; ok for individuals, but difficult for company and colleagues
Model Answer | Marked as Band 8
Cohesive connecting words that improve coherence in writing . Useful less common words that boost fluency in writing .
  • The idea of offering employees sabbatical time has become quite fashionable recently, with some major companies believing it has great benefits. However, there is also substantial opposition to the concept.
  • Those employers who support unpaid sabbaticals often highlight the motivating effect which such leave can have on an employee. They feel that, at a time when people are under pressure, a certain amount of extended leave can allow someone to return to work feeling refreshed and more committed to the company. A second point in favour is that such leave does not cost the company anything, as the employee stops getting a salary. Indeed, it seems that such breaks might actually save money, as departments can be downsized without the need for redundancies or compensation.
  • On the other hand, many other employers feel that this practice has a disruptive effect which outweighs its possible benefit to the individual. For example, if employees have a certain skill or responsibility, they must be replaced by someone who is similarly qualified, probably involving a cost in training or hiring a new worker. Companies are also reluctant to allow skilled employees to drift away from their business, fearing, with some justification, that the person might lose interest or even go to work for a competitor. Finally, some employers feel that the whole idea of sabbaticals is more suited to an academic context such as universities or research institutes, where the employee will be working on personal interests which coincide with their field of study, which is rarely the case among corporate employees.
  • To sum up, it seems true that the problems caused by unpaid sabbaticals do indeed outweigh the potential advantages. Although the individual employee may be refreshed, the disruption and costs caused by this absence are unreasonable for the company and for the colleagues left behind at work.
305 words
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