A council is offering staff the chance to take career breaks of up to three years and return to the same job.
North East Derbyshire District Council said the unpaid leave scheme will enable employees to meet family commitments such as caring for a child or elderly relative.
Others will be able to take up educational opportunities or do voluntary work and know their job will be kept open for them.
Andy Wilson, head of strategic support – which deals with HR at the council – said the scheme has nothing to do with redundancy plans. The authority is seeking 100 voluntary redundancies because of a budget shortfall for next year of £1.5m.
The council already allows some staff to work from home and take extended unpaid leave.
The council executive member for personnel Geof Butler said, “The scheme strengthens our family-friendly policies and will help us attract and retain skilled staff who might otherwise be unable to work for the council.”