What do you call when you take a short leave from your workplace (like forty minutes or a couple, of hours) with from your boss' permission, to do a personal errand, like picking up an urgent parcel or something of the like, at any given time during the workday (not necessarily at noon) and then return to your workplace.

Is it a "short leave", a "time off", "a break"?

A break is for relaxing, and both "short leave" and "time off" sound more like a matter of days than of hours to me.

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    Sounds like an 'extended lunch.' Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:08
  • @YosefBaskin Well, by "the middle of the day" I didn't mean exactly noon. Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:10
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    @Yosef Baskin It doesn't work that way here in India! Explicit verbal permission from the boss is required. Such short authorised time off is usually unofficial and it is simply called 'permission'!. Example: "Mr.F disappeared at 2:30pm (rather than 5pm), did he take half day leave?" / "No, he took permission." Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:45
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    A lot would depend on how the company defined it. Many salaried people have a lot of control of their time, especially if they are allowed to work from home and things like that. They might just be "juggling around my schedule". Some might be more formal in terms of "hours" and have definitions of "flex time" allowing you to make up hours outside of normal business hours ?
    – Tom22
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 0:10
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    Mary, I'm going to take some personal time. I'll be back by 2:00 in case anyone is looking for me. Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


In many workplaces "two hours" is not at all a short absence from one's duties. I would call that "taking PTO (paid time off)". You are using two hours of your accumulated PTO. See PTO Pros and Cons:

Whether they need the time for doctor's appointments, kid's school conferences, to pick Johnny up at the bus stop, to wait for a furnace repairman, or to recover from the flu, the time use is no longer the business of the employer.

Companies that utilize PTO are pretty flexible in granting it, but not all will grant PTO requests of less than half a day (4 hours).

  • Thanks! And what do you call paid days off you accrue when you do on call duty? (24/7 phone availability with possible on site presence if incidences cannot be solved remotely) ? Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:40
  • I doubt I can be much help with that (never encountered it). But it could be somenthung very much like the PTO system. Maybe Paid Days Off if you only accrue actual (8-hour?) days off and not a bank of hours (instead of hours). Ask your HR rep? Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:46
  • Mine is a linguistic enquiry, not a HHRR one. I master the HHRR jargon in my native language. I just want the correct english expression, commonly used in english speaking countries. Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:47
  • It could be overtime, it could be putting in some flex time or putting in extra hours. Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 4:43

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