List of American companies offering employees the option of taking a paid sabbatical. The term "sabbatical" simply means "rest from work" or "hiatus" (coming from the Latin word sabbaticus), but it has come to mean the practice of taking an extended leave of absence from an employer. Typically, sabbaticals are taken for a specific project or with a specific goal in mind, thus making them different from simply a vacation or taking 'personal time,' which can be used for just going on a trip or enjoying some leisure time. Sabbaticals are most commonly associated with academics and professors, who may take time off to complete a lengthy research project, write a book or pursue some new line of inquiry. Universities are the most common types of employer to offer extensive paid leave.
But this is not necessarily the condition with all companies. In Europe, and the United Kingdom specifically, the notion of taking a 'career break' as an employee benefit - in which to re-evaluate the course of one's career and even take steps to alter a career trajectory - has become a more common practice. Students are also sometimes given sabbatical time, usually to take a year out of study for travel or personal reflection. This list originally appeared in <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/best_benefits/sabbaticals.html">CNN Money</a> as part of a series on The Best Companies to Work For.