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The Flatmates
Archive Language Point 89

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Work vocabulary

Tim in his office, looking angry

Starting & finishing work

employ (v)
to employ somebody means to give them a job.
'My father's company employs 25 people.'

take on (v)
this means to hire or employ someone (at the beginning of their period of employment).
'The company got a really big order. It had to take on 10 new workers.'

knock off (v)
this informal verb means to finish work for the day.
'We finish work at 5pm every day, but on Fridays we knock off at 3.'

fire (v)
sack (v)

when a boss makes someone leave their job, because they have done something wrong or bad.
'The company fired / sacked six people after they were caught sleeping at work.'
These verbs can be used in the passive form with get or be.
be / get fired (v)
be / get sacked (v)

'He got fired / got sacked for stealing.'

quit (v)
to leave your job through your own choice; to resign.
'She quit her job when she got married.'

to be made redundant (v)
to lose your job because the company no longer needs the type of work you do.
'50 people were made redundant when the shop closed down. Another 20 were transferred to another branch.'


gaffer (n)
a slang word for boss, often used in manual labour.
'Quick - get back to work! The gaffer's coming!'

line manager (n)
your immediate boss, who is not usually the boss of the whole company.
'If you have a problem at work, you should first speak to your line manager. If s/he can not resolve the problem, you should go to the head of your department.'

co-worker (n)
somebody you work with, usually doing jobs of equal pay and status.
'My co-workers are very nice. Most of them have been working at the company for years.'

freelancer (n)
a person who works as a writer, designer, performer etc., selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., instead of working regularly for just one employer.
'He worked for the same company for several years before he quit and became a freelancer.'

Avoiding work

pull a sickie
this slang expression means to contact your place of work and tell them you are sick and cannot come to work when really there is nothing wrong with you.
'The boss told her she could not have any time off to go to her sister's wedding, but she pulled a sickie and went anyway.'

skive (v)
to avoid work by either staying at home without permission, or by being lazy or not doing your job properly when you are at work.
'She is so lazy. She always arrives late and she skives all the time.'

skiver (n)
a person who skives (see the definition of skive above).
'He is such a skiver! He takes really long tea breaks and he always goes home at least 30 minutes early.'

leave (n)
permission to be absent from work for an agreed length of time, usually measured in days or weeks. 'He was given 2 weeks' leave when his elderly father died.'


wage / wages (n)
money that is paid or received for work or services, usually by the hour, day, or week.
'We get our wages in cash every Friday.'

salary (n)
a fixed, regular (usually monthly) payment for work.
'Secretarial salaries in London are quite high.'

payslip (n)
a slip of paper included with your pay that records how much money you have earned and how much tax or insurance etc. has been taken out.
'I always keep my payslips so that I can prove what my income is.'

bonus (n)
a sum of money given to an employee, in addition to regular pay, usually because the employee has done their job especially well or has worked very hard or for a long time.
'All the workers got a £100 bonus at the end of the year.'

timesheet (n)
a piece of paper on which you write how many hours you have worked in a day, week or month so that you can be paid for what you have worked.
'Don't forget to fill in your timesheet every Wednesday. Otherwise you may not be paid on time.'

severance pay (n)
money paid to an employee who has to leave their job because of lack of work or other reasons beyond the employee's control.
'The redundant workers each got one week's severance pay for every year of employment.'


changed one thing for another; exchanged

to wriggle out of it
to escape from a difficult situation or avoid doing something, in a way other people don't like

allegations (n)
accusations of wrong-doing against somebody

I bet
I'm sure

hard evidence
real proof

behind bars
in prison
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