Learn the vocabulary to talk about working hours in English:
to work overtime = to do more than the usual hours required by the contract
- We aren’t paid when we work overtime, we can take time off in lieu.
- We had to work overtime to get the project finished on time.
to work shifts = to work in teams at different times of the day and night
- In today’s twenty-four hour society, more and more people work shifts.
- We get paid more when we work shifts to compensate for the irregular times.
shift work = when groups of workers work at different times of the day and night
- The irregular rhythm of shift work can be very hard on family life.
- Production keeps going non-stop so we have a lot of people who do shift work.
to be on the night shift = to work with a group during the night, often from ten pm to six am
- It’s very hard on the night shift because I can’t sleep very well during the day.
- Some people prefer to be on the night shift because they are at home when the children come home from school.
flexitime = a system where people can vary the start and end times
- As we work flexitime, I take the children to school and arrive at nine thirty.
- With flexitime, as long as I have done my seven hours, I can leave at four thirty.
a roster = a list of who’s working when and where
- The weekly roster is put up on the board so that you can see who is working.
- Look on the roster to see what job you are doing.
to have time off = to take vacation or leave
- I’d like to have some time off next month. I need a break.
- If you want to have time off, you have to fill out a request form and give it to your line manager.
to take a day off = to have an authorised absence from work for a day
- I had two days off last week so I have a lot of work to catch up on.
- I’d like a day off next week to deal with some family matters. Friday if that is convenient.
full-time = work a whole working week
- At the moment I only work two days a week but I would like to work full-time.
- After the birth of my son, I didn’t want to go back full-time so do three days a week now.
Learn more of the vocabulary to talk about working hours in English:
part-time = to work a part of the day or week
- When I was a student, I had a part-time job in a bar.
- We are looking for a part-time receptionist to work mornings.
to be punctual = to start or arrive at the specified time
- She’s very punctual, always here on time.
- Please be punctual. I don’t want to have to wait for late arrivals.
home working = to work from home rather than going into the office
- Home working misses the social element of going to work.
- Modern technology means that home working has become a real possibility for many people.
time sheet = a record of the numbers of hours worked by an employee
- Fill out this time sheet every day and hand it to your manager on Fridays.
- We no longer have time sheets as this is done automatically by the electronic ID badges.
unsocial hours = hours outside of the normal working week
- Although the hours are rather unsocial, I don’t want a nine to five job.
- Lots of professions work very unsocial hours and don’t necessarily get compensated for it.
to take a break = to stop work for a short time to relax
- You can buy tea or coffee when you take a break.
- Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a break and come back to a job refreshed.
to clock in/out = to record the start or finish time of work on a special machine
- The staff clock in when they arrive and clock out as they leave.
- Flexitime means that everyone has to clock in and out to keep a check on the hours worked.
public holidays = national holidays that are not generally worked
- Your holiday entitlement does not include public holidays like Christmas Day.
- If a public holiday is on a Thursday, many people take the Friday off and have a long weekend.
hourly rate = the salary that is paid per hour of work
- We are paid a considerably higher hourly rate for Sundays or evening work.
- The part-time employees are paid an hourly rate but the permanent staff are paid a fixed salary.
fixed hours = the working hours of an employee do not change or cannot be varied
- The admin staff work fixed hours; nine to five, five days a week.
- As a freelancer, I don’t have any fixed hours but work when the work is there.
If you think you have better understood these things, you may exercise to test yourself!