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Sarah Green Carmichael

It Always Pays to Take Sabbaticals and Vacations

A Citigroup perk for its employees isn’t just benevolent. It prevents burnout and boosts productivity.

The Pipeline fantasy.

The Pipeline fantasy.

Photographer: Brian Bielman/AFP/Getty Images

No sooner had Citigroup announced its new sabbatical policy — 12 weeks at 25% pay for employees who’d been at the bank at least five years — than the debate erupted: In the highly competitive world of finance, would it be a career-killer to take advantage of that kind of deal?

I’m not surprised some people asked. In 2018, the average American full-time employee earned 23 paid days off a year, but only used 17 of them, according to a study funded by the nonprofit U.S. Travel Association using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis.