Who doesn’t like to take off work? Taking time off work is really important, since it gives you time to relax and take a break. There are a few ways that we talk about taking off work in English, from calling in sick, to using your vacation days throughout (through) the year. How you take off work is up to you, but it’s great to know how to talk about it with your boss, your friends, or your partner.

No matter what you do with the time you take off work, here are a few phrases that may help you. And no matter what, enjoy your time away from work!

Call in sick (ˈkɔːl ˈɪn ˈsɪk)

If you’re really not feeling well, it’s best to call in sick from work. To call in sick is the phrase we use to talk about telling your boss you won’t be working because you’re ill. We still use the verb “to call” even though now many people just write an email when they need to call in sick. Going into the office when you’re sick can spread germs and get other people sick, too! Plus, if you’re sick, you’ll feel better faster if you relax, sleep, and don’t stress yourself with work too much.

For example:

  • She called in sick for the rest of the week. She really isn’t feeling well.
  • Steve called in sick today, so he won’t be at the meeting this afternoon. I’ll fill him in (tell him what happened) when he gets back.

Take a day off (ˈteɪk ə ˈdeɪ ˈɔːf)

If you’re not feeling sick, but still don’t want to work, how do you take off work? Easily! You talk to your boss and take a day off using your vacation days. It’s very difficult to work every single day of the year, so it’s important to take a day off sometimes. It can help you relax and refocus. It’s great for your physical (body) and mental (mind) health! Remember to take a day off every once in a while if you want to be a productive (do a lot) worker.

For example:

  • I think I’m going to take a day off on Friday. It would be great to have a long weekend.
  • She’s taking the day off tomorrow, so can we move the meeting to Thursday? Then we can all be there.

To be given the day off (ˈtuː ˈbiː ˈɡɪvən ðə ˈdeɪ ˈɔːf)

Sometimes if you’re lucky, your boss may give you the day off. This actually happened to me this summer! My department met our quarterly targets (goals), and the weather was supposed to be very hot, so my boss gave us a day off. If your boss gives you the day off, it might not come out of your vacation days, which is great! But you can also use this phrase for when your boss approves (says yes to) vacation days that you requested (asked for).

For example:

  • He was given a day off as a “thank you” for all of his hard work on the big project. He used it for a long weekend to go to the spa and relax!
  • My boss gave me the day off I asked for. Do you want to hang out, then?

Vacation day(s) (veˈkeɪʃən ˈdeɪ(z))

Vacation is my favorite time of year! Any time I can take vacation days is a good time. Taking vacation days is a very common way to take off work and are included in your work contract. Using your vacation days is a great way to travel, see something new, or even just relax at home for a few days on a “staycation” (when you stay at home for vacation). When will you be using your vacation days next?

For example:

  • Our company closes between Christmas and New Year, so we always have to take a few vacation days that week. It’s a nice chance to celebrate the holidays!
  • I have a few vacation days left for the year, so do you want to go on a trip together? It would be fun!

Play hooky (ˈpleɪ ˈhʊki)

Now, I know none of you have ever played hooky…right? If you play hooky, you call in sick to work when you’re not sick and go do something fun instead, like going to the movies. Playing hooky can be fun, but you don’t want your boss to find out that you weren’t actually sick! Playing hooky is a little too risky for my taste, because I’m always worried that I’ll run into (see) someone from work.

For example:

  • He really didn’t want to go into work on Monday, so he played hooky instead. He went for a run and then watched some TV at home.
  • A friend of hers used to play hooky all the time in high school, until they ran into a teacher at lunch!

How often do you take off work? Do you know any other special vocabulary words for taking off work? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Furniture Vocabulary in EnglishCommon Vacation Phrases in EnglishPassive vs Active Voice in English, or these Portuguese Loan Words used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and can’t wait until she can take off work again!

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