If there is one thing I can't stand are these cnuts always saying 'this is my first post', 'Honest, I did check for an existing thread'...
Post away I say. Gives the Mods something to do.
In response, I beleive the sabatical is still running, although I don't know how it currently assessed. You take a years unpaid leave (which is essentailly all it is) at teh end of which you can rejoin, or chin it. It DOES affect your pension etc, as for the year out you wont receive any service days.
Ask your CoC, but be aware it would mean you are one year behind your peers etc for promotion and seniorty. If you have a year out, that is waht it means.