Lifelong Learning

Sabbaticals

Introduce legislation enabling people to stop work, without losing their positions, as often as once every five years, to do full-time study at university, college, or in the trades, in any chosen area. Employers would be required to permit the absence, and may provide incentives for a particular course of study but may not require taking that course of study. Subsidies for study would be the same as for anyone in the income bracket of less than $150,000. Unemployed people, and people on OW and/or ODSP would be eligible. Child care provisions would be made. Work vacancies could be filled by internships and other locum situations, possibly incented by government.

There could be several benefits: people free to learn in whatever area will enlarge their perspectives and improve their ability to innovate and think outside the box. The sense of achievement would be beneficial to the individuals and perhaps their employers. People not frequently able to engage such courses, i.e., those infrequently in the work force or for other reasons having difficulty in today’s economy, would circulate among those more accustomed to the enriched learning environment, broadening their own experiences and those of people they meet.

Financially gainful activities conducted during this period would not be penalized, nor cause reductions of other benefits.

It would be a way of taking time out of the everyday pressures, and soaring into new skies.

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Idea No. 414