Why say “I'm on annual leave”? blog discussion

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  • surreysaversurreysaver Forumite
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    I just say I'm off. Why do they need to know what type of leave it is?
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
  • This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
    Read Martin's "Why say 'I'm on annual leave'?" Blog.
    Possibly because those of us who work, get a certain number of days leave in any given year, so the term 'annual leave' & the phrase is used to imply that we are using some of our annual leave quota. At HMRC we have different type of leave available (or not available most of the time!)ie flexi-leave, special leave, etc[/qu:confused:ote]
  • Call it what you like - any days off work are good for me :OD
  • frannyannfrannyann Forumite
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    Similar to all the above really, 'I am on annual leave' tells people 'tough sort it out yourself cos I'm not here for a week or two!' whereas 'I am on a flexi day today' means 'I know full well you will just fudge the issue until I drag my butt back into work tomorrow'
    :rotfl:Ahahah got my signature removed for claiming MSE thought it was too boring :rotfl:
  • Actually, I had never heard 'annual leave' before coming here (from the States) other than as a very formal term printed in some manual somewhere. We say we're going on vacation on those rare and lovely occasions when we get to!

    Same here. I never heard the term 'annual leave' until I moved here as well. We say we're 'on vacation' (not a 'hideous' term, imo, just a different one :confused:). Initially, I questioned the term 'annual' 'cause to me that sounded like you were going once a year (e.g. twice a year would be biennial, etc.), but I learned it was just one of those British customs. Hey, all countries have them.
    :beer:
    Actually, I don't use any auto-response on my home pc 'cause I don't want strangers or spammers to know I'm away. I notify my friends and family in advance, and check my email remotely if I think I need to and am able to (like during my last hol when I was simply staying at my parents'). Sometimes I'd use an auto-response at work, but it depended on where I was working at the time as to whether I actually needed to or not. It was sometimes a sort of 'plus' that I could spend the first morning back at work telling my boss that I had to sit there and go through my emails! ;)

    But Martin wanted to know why we did this, and I suppose it's a courtesy to let people know, in effect, that you won't be responding to them right away and why. Before email, if you rang someone at their office someone else would tell the caller you were on leave. But in the age of email communication, people would want to know why they didn't hear back from you within a couple of days, and an autoresponse takes care of that issue. I think it's probably more useful for business contacts than personal ones, though. And since it's essentially a work-related action, it would take on a more formal and customary tone, so it's 'annual leave' or 'out of the office'.

    Btw, I'm new to MSE (but have been lurking over a year), this is my first post, I'll get over to the introductory forum forthwith, but 'hey ya'll' in the meantime. Oh, but I'm not new to the UK.
    "When the going gets Weird, the Weird turn Pro."
    Dr. Hunter S. Thompson :cool:
  • GeneGene Forumite
    15 Posts
    It is a military term and is short for "leave of absence." Hence the term AWOL: Absent Without Leave.

    I think it is slightly asinine when civilian companies use the term. If you work for Tesco you are not committing an offence if you decide not to go into work. In the Forces you are committing an offence (under the Naval Discipline Act or military equivalent) and can be punished by law if you do not ask permission to be absent from your place of work. The concept of leave therefore is not really something that translates into a civilian setting and in my opinion it is not that great a way to describe people's annual holiday. That is until Boots starts holding Court Martials...

    I think it has come into common parlance partly because people think it makes their jobs sound more important. The Forces are percieved as quite a professional bunch (of course that's debatable) with important work to do, so by using the same term you gain some of the same cachet.

    Another reason is that the language of the military often filters into civilian life. Take AWOL, "going ballistic" etc. Especially in metaphor: read any politician's speech and you'll find it littered with terms like battling such and such, declaring war on this or that etc. So we all end up using terms that we aren't quite sure of the origin of.

    Interesting enough the Forces themselves (following implementation of a new human resources software package: JPA) are now suggesting that the term absence be used instead of leave. This hasn't caught on amongst the rank and file, but it is now the officially preferred term. I wonder if civilian companies will start copying that in a couple of years time?
  • surreysaversurreysaver Forumite
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    Gene wrote: »
    are now suggesting that the term absence be used instead of leave. This hasn't caught on amongst the rank and file, but it is now the officially preferred term. I wonder if civilian companies will start copying that in a couple of years time?

    I don't know. I thought the term 'absent' was already in widespread use? The term 'leave' tends to be applied when someone is off with permission (annual leave, sick leave, paternity leave etc); when 'absent' is used, it tends to mean without permission.
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
  • GeneGene Forumite
    15 Posts
    I don't know. I thought the term 'absent' was already in widespread use? The term 'leave' tends to be applied when someone is off with permission (annual leave, sick leave, paternity leave etc); when 'absent' is used, it tends to mean without permission.

    Ah ok, I'll try and explain my point more clearly.

    The words "leave" or "absence" of course aren't exclusively military and obviously they mean all sorts of things in all sorts of contexts. My point was that the common-spread use of "I'm on leave" as another way of saying "I'm on holiday / vacation" has I think been copied from the military (as a number of other posters have also suggested). I'd imagine if you looked back say 50 years or so you would find it rare for a civilian to say "I'm on leave" instead of "I'm on holiday/vacation" - it would have been exclusively used by the military community. Over time the term has spread from military use only (in the context that leave equals holiday) to the wider workforce.

    Within the military it is referred to as "leave" as that is short-hand for the longer (more official) expression "leave of absence." Interestingly following the introduction of new human resources software there has been an attempt to lay down common terminology for the three services (e.g. instead of saying a draft, posting or appointment (all of which meant the same thing in different contexts), the approved term is now assignment). One of those suggested common terminologies is that instead of using the term "leave" we now use the term "absence." I think it is quite funny (more in an ironic than in a ha-ha way) that now the military term "leave" is coming into common civilian use, the military is starting to use a different term...

    I'm a Logistics Officer in the Royal Navy with responsibilities that include (amongst lots of other things) human resources, discipline and accounting for leave on my unit.

    That fact does not necessarily mean I'm not talking rubbish of course. But at least it is authentic rubbish...
  • POSSETTEPOSSETTE Forumite
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    i work on a factory shop floor with 300 others..no poncy office job here!!

    We all say we are Floating! A floater is a day you can book off whenever you like, our other hols are factory shutdowns...still 6 and half weeks is good for me whatever its called!!

    My auto reply on home email is
    sorry i cannot reply to your email, but please be reassured it is in a list and it is number 352.I will get back to you in approx 3 months after i have purchased many drugs from Canada and given my bank details to a lovely chap in Nigeria.....thank you
    TO FINISH LAST, FIRST YOU HAVE TO FINISH....
  • just catching up - I have been on annual leave .......:rotfl:

    I am given "annual leave" by my employer - to me "holiday" means going away from home - if I am off work I may not be on holiday - just at home pottering about/ day trips/ catching up with jobs/ spending time with my boy etc!
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