6 August 2019

Meagan Day on the (defunct) US Labor Party’s call for a workers’ sabbatical: “Imagine that: you work for six years and you are promised a whole paid year off to do whatever you want, with your job still waiting for you afterwards. What would people do with this time? … The sabbatical should be for leisure, pleasure, and curiosity. It should be for travel, ceramics classes, and making graphic novel adaptations of eleventh-century Icelandic sagas that nobody asked for. It should be a time when, after six years of putting in hours to make our world run smoothly, each person gets to explore and enjoy that world for themselves. The capitalists won’t like it, but they didn’t like the weekend either. The weekend was won by a powerful movement of working people asserting that the time of their lives should belong to them, not to those who would wring them dry for profit. The demand for a sabbatical would have to be won the same way.” This is an expanded, universalised version of long-service leave, and the portable LSL system being rolled out by some governments for particularly precarious industries provides a feasible model.