SBS Learn English

#5 How to call in sick | Personal leave entitlements

SBS Learn English

SBS LEARN ENGLISH EP 05

SBS LEARN ENGLISH EP 05 Source: Getty Images


Published 16 February 2022 at 11:38am
By Josipa Kosanovic, Janine Googan
Source: SBS

Learn how to tell your employer you need to take sick or carer’s leave. Plus, find out about your sick leave entitlements at work.


Published 16 February 2022 at 11:38am
By Josipa Kosanovic, Janine Googan
Source: SBS


 will help you speak, understand and connect in Australia -.

This lesson suits upper-intermediate to advanced learners. After listening,  to test your learning. 

Learning notes

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Lesson language objective
How to tell your employer you need to take sick or carer’s leave (also known as personal leave)


Different ways to say you are taking sick or carer’s leave
  • I won’t be making it in today, my child doesn’t feel well.
  • I don’t feel well, so I’ll be staying home from work today.
  • I need to take a sick day to get better
  • I don't feel very well this morning, so I think I'd better stay at home to rest.

Colloquial expressions:  
  • Under the weather – feeling slightly unwell or in low spirits
  • Golden rule – an important rule to follow
  • Sick as a dog –being extremely ill
  • Feeling crook – feeling sick
  • Pull/throw/chuck a sickie – an Australian phrase for taking sick leave without actually being ill

Vocabulary:
Entitlement - having a right to something
Nauseous - feeling like you might vomit
Pro-rata – proportional or a percentage of a full amount




Cultural information:
In Australia, some employees can take paid sick leave when they can't work because they are sick or injured. They can also take paid carer's leave to look after or support a member of their immediate family or household who is sick, injured or has an emergency.

All employees except casuals, are entitled to paid sick and carer's leave, which is ten days a year for full-time employees, and pro-rata for part-time employees. 

Worried man talking on smart phone while looking at thermometer at home
man with fever sick at home passing quarantine Madrid / Spain Source: Gettyy Images/Westend61


Transcript

(Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript)

Hi! You are listening to the SBS Learn English podcast, in which we help Australians to speak, understand and connect.  

My name is Josipa, and like you, I'm learning the English language. This week I'm going to share different phrases to tell your employer you are sick and cannot work.

So, last week I woke up feeling terrible. Sore throat, no energy... and there was no way I was going to be able to work. You know the feeling, right? Being sick happens to everyone and it’s important to let your employer know.

Today with me is my friend Allan who is going to help us understand how to do that.  

Allan:
Hi Josipa, yes, as you said we all get sick from time to time. If being sick means you can’t go to work, a ‘golden rule’ is to inform your work as soon as possible.

Josipa:
Sorry but what is a ‘golden rule’?

Allan:
‘Golden rule’ is an important rule to follow, a basic principle that should always be followed, and in our case a ‘golden rule’ is to inform your employer as soon as possible.

Josipa:
Ok, so let’s learn different ways to call your boss or manager when you are feeling too sick to go to work.

My friends, Richard and Minyue shared with me what they told their manager. They said,

Richard:
I woke up feeling a bit crook this morning. Sorry, but I don't think I can make it in today.

Minyue:
I had a headache all night, and it's getting worse. I won't be making it in today, but I will let you know if I can make it tomorrow.

These phrases are helpful in conversation, on the phone or in a text message. But before saying that Richard and Minyue ‘won’t be making it in today’ something else happened. Let’s hear them one more time. 

Minyue said, 

I had a headache all night, and it's getting worse. I won't be making it in today, but I will let you know if I can make it tomorrow.
Do you remember how Richard is feeling?

I woke up feeling a bit crook this morning. Sorry, but I don't think I can make it in today .
Feeling ‘a bit crook’ in Australian English means unwell, while in British English it tends to mean nauseous.

Richard and Minyue have been polite about saying why they can't work, without telling too much about their condition.

And the explanation can be as simple and general as 'I woke up not feeling well', or 'I feel under the weather'.

Allan can you please explain what ‘under the weather’ means?

Allan:
If you are feeling ‘under the weather’, you are feeling slightly unwell or in low spirits, and you probably prefer to stay home from work.

Josipa:
Stay home from work. That’s another useful phrase we could use to call into work, right?

Allan:
Yes, you could say, ‘I woke up not feeling well, so I’ll be staying home from work today’. 

I’ll be staying home from work today.
And if you are writing an email and need something even more formal, you could write,

Minyue:
Sorry for the late notice, but I woke up feeling unwell this morning and I don't think I can make it in today.

Or something like this,

Richard:
Unfortunately, I've woken up sick today and will need to take the day off to rest and recover. I'll check my email through the day to see if there is anything urgent, and I'll let you know if I can come in tomorrow.

Josipa:
Allan, do you know how many paid sick leave days we can take in a year?

Allan:
In Australia, an employee can take paid sick leave when they can't work because they are ill or injured, and they can also take paid carer's leave to care for or support a member of their immediate family or household who is sick, injured or has an emergency. Full-time employees can take ten days of paid sick leave a year.

Josipa:
Ten days a year. But as full-time employees, we also have the right to our annual leave, which we use for holidays. How many days a year is that?

Allan:
It's four weeks in one year for annual leave. I just remembered another phrase that goes well with this topic. It’s an expression that emerged over 300 years ago when it was common to compare undesirable things to dogs.

Josipa:
What’s the phrase?

Allan:
Sick as a dog.

Josipa:
I know that one. If you are as sick as a dog, you are extremely ill. This phrase is something you would say in conversation with your friends and family, and it's not appropriate for formal settings.

Allan, you were telling me about a common Australian phrase to ‘throw a sickie’. What does that mean?

Allan:
It means faking illness; when you call your work to say you are sick, but you are not actually ill. ‘Pulling a sickie’, or ‘chucking a sickie’, means you miss work but you’re not really sick, maybe you feel a bit 'under the weather' the day after a big event. Most people don’t ‘pull sickies’ but it’s a unique Australian phrase.

Josipa:
Thanks Allan, I’ll remember that when I hear ‘chucking a sickie’.


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A big thank you to our educational consultant Professor Lynda Yates, our guests Allan, Richard and
Minyue.  

 


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