Duvet day

It rained heavily on and off most of yesterday and I overheard someone on the bus commenting that it was a “duvet day”. I don’t remember hearing this expression before, but from the context I thought she meant that because the weather was so unpleasant, she would prefer to spend the day under her duvet rather than going to work.

According to Wikipedia, a duvet day is a day off from work you take when you’re not sick and don’t have other reasons for staying at home, but just feel like a break. Some people apparently have the right to such days in their contracts. The Phrase Finder adds that this practice dates back to the 1960s and that the phrase first appeared in print in 1996.

Does this concept exist in your country? Are you allowed to take duvet days?

This entry was posted in English, Idioms, Language.

16 Responses to Duvet day

  1. Corcaighist says:

    I’ve heard of the expression before, especially in relation to students. Students often take “duvet days” depending on the weather though whether the person stays in bed or not depends on the individual. Usually it involves having a lie-in and watching day-time tv in your pjs and with the blanket wrapped around you.

    I haven’t so far heard it in relation to work and contracts.

  2. Miika says:

    “Duvet days” are called “peittopäivä(t)” here in Heinola, Finland. I’m not sure if that expression is used anywhere else in Finland but at least it’s in common use around here.

    peittopäivä = a blanket day

    A normal “peittopäivä” consists of sleeping, watching TV, drinking tea or any other hot drinks, and just full relaxing.

    But unfortunately we’re not allowed to take duvet days here.

  3. TJ says:

    Well… is the national day and religious holidays are enlisted under this topic?
    if so then yes we have, if not then we don’t! 🙂

  4. James C. says:

    In general the only people who use the term “duvet” in my parts of the world are interior decorators and home furnishings retailers. (I had to make sure it was not a type of couch or footstool.) I guess it’s not current at least in Alaska and Hawaiʻi. Perhaps in more cultured places like Vancouver, Seattle, or San Francisco.

    I know of a few people who refer to this as a “mental health day”, i.e. taking a day off for one’s sanity. Another more common term is “‘sick’ (*cough cough*) day”, where the word sick gets special intonation and sometimes air quotes.

    I’ve never heard of provisions for these in employment contracts, and it would probably be laughable to propose them in business-friendly USA. Many businesses however have merged sick time and vacation time into “personal leave”, thus removing the need for an excuse to stay home on some random day.

    University students in my experience do this rather frequently, especially after having drunk far too much on a weeknight. This behavior seems to continue into graduate school, however it seems that rather than hangovers the reasons are often the lack of teaching duties or “important” classes on the given day.

  5. michael farris says:

    I’ve never used or heard or seen that expression but I have coined (I think) a similar one – lizard weather (pogoda jaszczurkowa in Polish).

    This refers to middle to late spring days, the first post-winter days with sustained sunshine that evoke a desire to go outside and bask motionlessly in the rays, much as a post hibernation reptile might.

  6. Tommy says:

    I wish! In Japan everyone would probably end taking “duvet days” at the same time, so it would lose the whole individuality/moody.

    Having said that, there is the idea of 失恋休暇 (shitsuren kyuuka), which is translated as “heartbreak leave”, like a day off when you break up with someone. I have never heard this actually used seriously to request a day off. It’s just one of the many curious pop terms used in an informal Japanese conversations.

  7. Ray says:

    As a student, I just call them “mental-health days” which I hear quite often in the Mid-Atlantic region in the US.

  8. iakon says:

    I’ve not heard the expression ‘duvet days’, but when I worked in the B. C. civil service (aka public service) people would take ‘mental health days’. Ray’s (#6) mention of it is the first I’ve heard of it being used elsewhere. Now you’ll hear it from many other sources perhaps.

  9. Petréa Mitchell says:

    No one talks about duvets here in Oregon, in terms of either work or the bed covering, but my company has “excused absence” days instead of sick days, acknowledging that sometimes people really need to take a day off for reasons other than personal illness. (The most common reason seems to be to take care of sick children.)

  10. Polly says:

    “Duvet”? Not very manly.
    James C. hit the nail on the head. Here in biz-lubber land you have to get “sick” to get even a day off.

  11. Jeff says:

    I have never heard the term ‘duvet’ except in a few books that I have read by British authors, so it is not commonly used here in the USA. I have heard the term “Playing Hookie,” where you skip school or work just to have a day off to relax.

  12. Simon says:

    We call a duvet a slumberdown (the name of a manufacturer of such items), at least in my family. I tend to use duvet instead these days, though slumberdown day sounds better than duvet day to my ears.

  13. TJ says:

    But it’s long isn’t it? 🙂

    slum-ber-down (11 letters/3 syllables)

    du-vet (5/2)


  14. DA says:

    TJ obviously prefers short names 🙂 but in normal speech, does it matter if words are longer? Some of my pet hates are unnecessary oral abbreviations, e.g. saying v instead of versus, as in Man U v Man C; saying 25 pee instead of 25 pence – p is the written form, pence is the spoken word, and both have just one syllable each. An Indian colleague always says “Kaygees” instead of kilograms (kg). Perhaps you have other examples where the spoken word has changed because of the common written form.

  15. Leonardo says:

    Here in Brazil, during college, it’s used to be given a week called “Semana do Saco Cheio”, a slang for “Pissed Off Week”, when we don’t attend to classes.

  16. Jack says:

    In Australia we call these days ‘sickies’. I think a ‘duvet’ is called a ‘doona’.

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