Business English vocabulary: Taking time off work

Familiarise yourself with Business English vocabulary related to taking time off work.  Don’t worry if you don’t know all of the words, as there’s a glossary below to help out with the difficult terms in bold. Not long now until I’ll be on my hols. It’s been a busy summer at SGI, so I think I deserve it! My imminent holiday has got me thinking about a common problem for business English students: which words do we use to describe taking time off work? Annual leave and sabbaticals As much as you may love your job, we all need some time away from the office. In the UK, most people get around 25 days annual leave, during which they may go on holiday, visit relatives or just stay at home and catch up with the housework. You normally have to hand in a holiday request, which you need to get signed off by your boss before you can pack your bags and jet off to sunny Spain on EasyJet. Those who want a longer break from work could ask to take a sabbatical. Perhaps you’d like to travel the world, take time out to study, or just stay at home and learn origami, in which case your annual leave quota may not be enough. Sickness and maternity leave Unfortunately we all take time off from time to time due to sickness. The average UK worker is off sick 5.5 days a year, which costs the economy millions. We all know of course that some of these days off are just people pulling a sickie! If you pull a sickie too often, legitamtely or not, you will get a reputation for it and then probably get the nickname, “Sicknote”, which is how you will be referred to in your absence by your disapproving colleagues. What about if you’re having a baby? Parents to be in the UK are entitled to maternity/paternity leave to ready themselves for their new arrival, and to look after the new member of their family once it’s born. Those nappies aren’t going to change themselves! Public holidays and retirement Other time off includes public holidays (often called bank holidays), such as Christmas Day, and time off for jury service or other public service, such as being a school governor. At around the age of 65, it’s time to put your slippers on and retire. As people are living longer, the age of retirement is getting later, which means those just starting out like me probably won’t get to retire until we’re 80! Find out more about more about taking time off in the UK from this Government website here.


hols – holiday (informal) annual leave – the amount of days in a year that you’re entitled to take off work holiday request – a written document asking your employer to go on annual leave sign off – your boss approving your holiday request jet off – fly sabbatical – a long period of time off, such as 6 months off sick – time off due to illness pulling a sickie – taking time off work but not really being sick absence – a period of being away from a place maternity  leave – time off for women during and after pregnancy paternity leave – time off for men after the birth of a child public/bank holidays – weekdays when most people in the country are entitled to take the day off jury service – attending a court of law to help decide if someone is guilty or not guilty retire – finish working forever

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