Knowing how to communicate when you’re not feeling well is essential when living or working in China or interacting in a Chinese-speaking environment. Properly conveying that you are sick and won’t be able to attend work is both a professional courtesy and a practical necessity. For those learning the language, knowing the phrases and customs associated with calling in sick in Chinese is beneficial. This article provides an in-depth look into the vocabulary, terms, and cultural aspects to remember.
Key Vocabulary Words
- 生病 (shēng bìng) – to fall sick
- 不舒服 (bù shū fú) – to feel unwell
- 请假 (qǐng jià) – to ask for leave
- 医生 (yī shēng) – doctor
- 医院 (yī yuàn) – hospital
- 工作 (gōng zuò) – work
- 上班 (shàng bān) – to go to work
- 疾病 (jí bìng) – disease or illness
- 症状 (zhèng zhuàng) – symptoms
- 复工 (fù gōng) – return to work
我生病了，不能上班。 (Wǒ shēng bìng le, bù néng shàng bān.)-“I am sick and cannot go to work.”
我感觉不舒服，需要休息。 (Wǒ gǎn jué bù shū fú, xū yào xiū xī.) – “I’m not feeling well and need to rest.”
我要去看医生。 (Wǒ yào qù kàn yī shēng.) – “I need to see a doctor.”
我需要请假几天。 (Wǒ xū yào qǐng jià jǐ tiān.) – “I need to take a few days off.”
When to Make the Call
In most Chinese workplaces, informing your manager or the human resources division is expected when you realize you cannot work due to illness. This can be accomplished through a phone conversation, a text message, or even an email. In contrast, direct communication via phone calls is frequently favored due to its speed and individualized nature.
How to Follow-up
Once you’ve recovered, letting your colleagues know you’re ready to return to work is good etiquette.
我已经康复，明天可以复工了。 (Wǒ yǐ jīng kāng fù, míng tiān kě yǐ fù gōng le.) – “I have recovered and can return to work tomorrow.”
You can easily manage this occasionally challenging issue if you know the linguistic and cultural intricacies of calling in sick in a Chinese-speaking environment. You’ll not only be respecting your health by doing this, but you’ll also be demonstrating professional etiquette adequately for your culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it considered impolite to call in sick in China?
A: In Chinese work culture, calling in sick is not considered impolite as long as you follow the proper protocols. This includes notifying your supervisor or HR department as soon as possible and providing a medical certificate for extended absences.
Q: How do I ask for a longer medical leave?
A: For an extended medical leave, you may use the phrase “我需要长时间的病假” (Wǒ xūyào cháng shíjiān de bìngjià), which means “I need a long-term sick leave.” You may also be required to provide more comprehensive medical documentation.
Q: Is bringing a small gift when returning to work after being sick is customary?
A: While not mandatory, bringing a small gift is seen as a polite gesture to thank colleagues for covering for you or to make amends for any inconvenience caused. It aligns with the Chinese cultural importance of ‘面子’ (miàn zi) or ‘face’.
Q: How do I say I am fit to work after a sickness?
A: You can use the phrase “我已经康复，可以复工了” (Wǒ yǐjīng kāngfù, kěyǐ fùgōng le), which means “I have recovered and can return to work.”
Q: Is a medical certificate always required?
A: The requirement for a medical certificate depends on company policy and the length of your absence. Generally, for a lack of more than one day, companies in China prefer to have a medical certificate.
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