See What It Means To Be Off Work And Its Benefits

As a common term generally used in describing employees that are not working, the phrase “off work” can mean different things.

From taking personal time off from work to finishing the day at the office, the phrase “off work” serves as a quick response to various work-related queries. 

This article explores some of the various reasons that employees ask to be off work, and answers important questions about taking time off.

What does off work mean? 

Off work generally means that an employee has taken to be absent from the office.

Such an employee will temporarily be unable to perform official duties during that time off. This language or phrase is mostly found in official emails like leave applications or business emails. 

Is off work the same as a suspension? 

No, being away from work is not the same as a suspensionSuspension can best be defined as an instance when an employee is asked not to show up to work or perform official duties but remains employed. 

Disciplinary action remains the major reason for suspension and can include violence, insubordination, or violation of company policies.

Employees on suspension due to these reasons typically receive pay unless their contract does not state it.

Can being off work lead to termination? 

Yes, sometimes being away from work for 3 or more consecutive days without permission can lead to termination

For example, an employee takes time away from work but refuses to return within the stipulated time.

Such employees have violated their leave agreement and can be punished with a termination of employment.

SEE: How Getting Fired Can Affect Future Employment

What are the reasons for being off work?

Reasons for being away from the office can range from urgent reasons such as sickness or accident of the employee to paid holiday among others. Let us take a closer look at some of these reasons below.



Emergencies regarding family safety or health are valid reasons to take time off.

For example; your child being sick is a valid excuse to stay home and monitor the health of your kid. Family emergencies can extend from your children to your siblings, spouse, and parents.

Health reasons

Sickness or health complications are valid reasons for taking time off work. However, most employers require that you have an appointment with a doctor or some sort of proof to validate your reason. 

Employees who wish to take time off from the office due to health issues can call in sick or are sometimes required to send a mail. Upon resumption, some employers demand a doctor’s note to confirm you were actually sick.

Mental health rejuvenation

Ever had one of those days at the office where your stress levels are so high that you’re unable to think clearly and be productive? Overworking and frustration at the office tend to have that effect. 

The best way to counter this effect is by taking a few days off duty to rest and maintain great mental health conditions. Taking time off to preserve your mental health will prevent you from suffering an emotional or mental breakdown. 

Unplanned circumstances

Once in a while, you might need to take time off because of an urgent matter at home or other unplanned events. Such situations make it necessary for you to request a leave of absence from the office.

Planned Schedules

You can also take time off work for planned events as long as you give due notice to the company.

These planned activities may include monthly health checkups, dentist appointments, attending family social events, or educational training.

Sabbatical & Paid Holidays

These are paid holidays you are entitled to and can be used for study or leisure purposes like tourism. Paid holidays also include national holidays that do not require users to come to the office like Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, or Independence Day. 

However, the number of paid holidays that you can embark on depends on the company or employer you serve. This is because some employers do not acknowledge some holidays and require that their employees come to the office on those days. 

SEE: How To Learn Faster And Be More Productive In Less Time

How many days off work is acceptable? 

There are no amount of days deemed acceptable for you to miss work.

The amount of days you can stay away from the office depends on your employer. While there is no certain duration, the number of days can range from three days to three months. 

However, this is only the case if it is stated in your employment contract. Permissible days that you can be away from the office also vary across organizations with some employers offering more days and others offering less. 

It is also at your employer’s discretion if these days would be considered paid time off or not. So while some employers offer benefits and sick leave, others do not and will deduct it from your paycheck. 

What are the benefits of being off duty? 

Numerous benefits associated with taking time off work include gaining a better work/life balance, improved relationships with loved ones, and mental rehabilitation. It also helps you renew your focus and reduce your tension or stress levels. 

Difference between off work and out of work

“Off work” refers to when an employee is temporarily away from the office while being out of work means being unemployed. People who are out of work are either recently unemployed or unable to obtain a job.

Conditions that can result in being out of a job include having a criminal record, health disability (physical or mental), or lacking the required skills to secure a job. 

SEE: Welfare vs Unemployment Benefits: Definition, Differences, And Similarities


Do you receive pay during time off from the office?

Yes, you are entitled to pay under certain circumstances when you take time off work.

This employee-provided benefit may cover sick leaves, vacations, or maternity leave among other reasons. However, not all employers offer these benefits, and allowed reasons may vary.

Is working from home also considered off work?

No, working from home is not the same thing as being off work.

Working from home means you’re still performing your official duties but remotely while off work means you’re temporarily away from your duties.

Why do people work from home?

People choose remote work to boost their productivity, have a better work-life balance, or because they can’t cope with commuting long distances to the office. 

SEE: Hate Working? Here Are 7 Ways To Cope 


“Off work” can generally depict being absent from the office i.e closing for the day, running an errand, or going on retreats. However, its major use in employment cycles is when an employee is away from performing any official duties for a period of time. 

As mentioned above, reasons for being away from the office can range from family emergencies to vacation, maternity leave, stress management, and sick leave among others.

Also, being off work is not the same as being out of work. While one depicts time off from the office or your official duties, the other depicts unemployment.

I hope you found this article helpful. You can also read about the qualities of a good employee. Thanks for reading.