Can You Semi-Retire Using a Leave of Absence?

So, you are learning about the concept of “semi-retiring” and you love the idea of continuing to work, but only doing it for eight or nine months a year.

If you have hesitations about leaving your current employment completely, one excellent option you may have available to you is a formal Leave of Absence (LOA).  Here are some questions to ask and information to gather from your Human Resources or People department about this option.

Does Your Company Offer LOAs?

Some companies even require employees to take a leave periodically.  Chances are if you are lucky enough to work for one of these, you already know about that.  But if you have never considered it, then start researching internally to see what is available.

If So, Are They Paid or Unpaid?

Unless you are very lucky, chances are the leave will be unpaid.  You might expect this, but it does trigger a new avalanche of questions about what else might be affected.

What is Your Return-to-Work Status?

For example, one really important question to thoroughly understand is what constraints or situations affect your return-to-work.   Is your job held for you?  Indefinitely, or for a specific period of time?   Does there have to be an opening that you can fill?

Are There Limitations  to What You Can Do During the Leave?

My company does not allow employees to work while on a personal leave without specific written permission from a supervisor.  This could impact you if the goal of the leave is to test out running your own business.  Be sure you know any limitations or restrictions.

What Happens to Your Benefits?

If you, like many, receive your health insurance through your employer, what happens to it during your leave?  Do you keep the coverage, but have to pick up the entire cost?  This can cause some sticker shock as the full cost is often four times what is being withheld from the paycheck while working full-time.

Are there any other benefits that sunset while on a leave, such as discounts with your wireless vendor, or to the gym you use?  In my case, my travel privileges are suspended during a personal LOA.  And, that is the very thing I want the time off to use.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you are in a much better position to see if you can test-drive a short retirement period to see if it might work for you.


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Recovering MBA. Writer. Photographer. Scanner. Learning Addict. Airplane Geek. Teacher. Certification Collector. Serenity Seeker. Semi-retiree in training.

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