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English for Human Resources

Working hours

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.
exercise 1

exercise 2

exercise 3

exercise 4

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