New Employee’s Glossary

Navigating your early career may require learning a whole new set of vocabulary. Although not an exhaustive listing, these may be unfamiliar terms for you as you embark on your future career. You may also find it beneficial to review additional terms from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Capterra HR Glossary, Zenefits, the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) Glossary, the Glossary, or conduct an internet search for additional terms.

Although career advisors are happy to talk to you about your questions related to on-boarding, benefits, and other attributes of your work, please know that we may have limited understanding of the nuances of your benefits package and are unable to provide financial or legal advice. You may find it helpful to connect with a benefits expert, your HR department, or a trusted legal/financial advisor to discuss these topics more.


  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) – This is an individual’s total (or “gross”) income for the tax year minus permissible adjustments (e.g. IRA contributions, student loan interest, etc.).

    Affordable Care Act (ACA) – The comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010 has three primary goals: (1) make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (“premium tax credits”) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL); (2) expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the FPL; (3) support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally.

    After-Tax Contributions – Usually refers to 401(k) contributions that are deducted from the employee’s wages after income taxes are taken out. After-tax contributions do not reduce the employee’s taxable wages.

    Alimony – Money an individual can get from a spouse with whom they no longer live, or a former spouse, if paid to them as part of a divorce agreement, separation agreement, or court order. This excludes payments of child support or non-taxable property settlements.

    Ancillary Benefits – Add-on benefits that enhance an employee’s job-based health insurance plan. May include life insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, critical illness insurance, and long-term insurance.

    Annual Limit – The maximum amount (or cap) that an insurance company will pay in a year under particular health insurance plans. Caps can apply to individual services, can be on a specific dollar amount, or number of visits. After the annual limit is reached, individuals are responsible for paying all associated health care costs for the duration of the benefit year.

    Attrition – Refers to employee departure from a company for any reason. Departures may be voluntary or involuntary, including resignation, firing, death, or retirement. Attrition is a natural process that occurs over the course of normal business operations. Organizations may welcome a certain amount of attrition if they want to slowly downsize or reduce their staffing budget. In this case, the roles of departed employees may go unfilled for a while or be eliminated.

    Authorized Representative – A person an individual chooses to act on their behalf for certain benefits or financial decisions, like a family member or other trusted person. Some authorized representatives may have legal authority to act on the individual’s behalf.

    Automatic Enrollment – Enables an employer to automatically enroll an employee in the company’s 401(k) plan, unless the employee chooses to opt out. With automatic enrollment, the employer automatically deducts the employee’s 401(k) deferrals from their wages.

  • Behavioral-Based Interviewing – Behavioral-based interviewing is a technique which focuses on a candidate’s past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of when they have demonstrated certain behaviors or skills in the past as a means of predicting future behavior and performance.

    Benefit Year – a year of benefits coverage as defined by a person’s individual health insurance plan. Typically, the benefit year will follow a calendar year (i.e. January 1 to December 31), but can vary based on individual plan guidelines.

    Blackout Period – A period of time — often, up to 60 days — when 401(k) participants are suspended from making changes to their 401(k) accounts. Typically, this happens when a major change is being made to the plan.

    Brag Sheet – A document of an employee’s accomplishments and contributions, typically supplied to a potential recommender for writing a letter of recommendation or providing a reference.

    Business Plan – A document setting out a business’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them.

  • Candidate Assessment – A tool used by recruiters or hiring managers to assess an individual’s suitability for a specific position. Assessments may look at skills, experience, behavior, personality, or other attributes and may vary between organizations. Assessments may be used at any point during the candidate selection process.

    Capital Gains – the amount an individual receives from selling property (e.g. stocks, real estate, mutual funds). Capital Gains are reported on Form 1099-DIV, and are received before the tax filing deadline.

    Coinsurance – The amount (typically, a percentage) a person pays for a covered healthcare service, after the deductible has been paid.

    Commuter Benefits – An employer-sponsored benefit that lets employees set aside pretax money (via payroll deduction) to pay for qualified parking expenses, public transit, or ridesharing.

    Compensatory Time Off (Comp Time) – A compensatory time off plan, or comp time plan, provides nonexempt employees with paid time off to be used in the future in lieu of paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Comp time is an acceptable practice for many government employers; however, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally does not permit private employers to offer comp time off in lieu of overtime pay for private-sector employers.

    Compressed Workweek – A compressed workweek is an alternative work schedule that allows employees to work longer days for part of the week or pay period, in exchange for shorter days or a day off each week or within the same pay period.

    Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – A federal law that allows individuals to temporarily keep health coverage after their employment ends, if they lose coverage as a dependent of a covered employee, or another qualifying event. Individuals who elect COBRA coverage pay 100% of the premiums, including the share the employer used to pay, plus a small administrative fee.

    Co-payment – The fixed amount (e.g, $20) a person pays for a covered healthcare service, normally at the time service is rendered.

    Corporate Culture – The collection of a companyʻs values, ethics, attitudes, and beliefs that reflect how management interacts with employees, customers, and external stakeholders. Company culture often influences an organization’s dress code, office environment, hiring decisions, employee and client treatment, and all other operational aspects. An appealing company culture helps businesses fight high turnover rates and attract talented employees.

    Custodian – The group responsible for safeguarding the assets in a 401(k) plan. The custodian is usually a bank, which holds the plan’s securities investments and other financial assets.

  • Deductible – The amount an individual must pay during the coverage period for eligible healthcare expenses, before the insurance plan starts paying anything.

    Deferment – A plan allowed under certain conditions to delay payment on a loan.

    Dental Insurance – A type of insurance used to cover the costs associated with dental procedures and cleanings. Some plans may also cover orthodontics.

    Department of Labor – A department in the US federal government that administers laws and regulations connected with occupational health and safety, wages, unemployment/re-employment, and occupational statistics.

    Dependent – Any person — such as a spouse or child — who is covered under the primary insured’s plan.

    Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – A dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), also called a dependent care assistance plan (DCAP), is an employer benefits plan that allows tax-free contributions by an employee and/or employer to cover qualified child and dependent care services.

    Disability Insurance – A type of insurance that replaces part of an employee’s income if they cannot work due to falling ill or being injured.

    Discretionary Bonus – A discretionary bonus is a form of variable pay where an employer provides additional compensation to an employee for reasons that are not pursuant to any prior contract, agreement or promise that would lead the employee to expect the payments regularly.

    Disparate Treatment – Disparate treatment is intentional discrimination that occurs when rules or policies are applied inconsistently to one group of people over another.

    Dual Career Ladder/Track – A dual career ladder, or dual career track, is a career development plan that offers employees an alternative career path in lieu of traditional promotions to supervisory or managerial positions. The dual career ladder is often used as a way to advance employees who have deep technical skills and/or education but who are not interested or inclined to pursue a management or supervisory track.

  • Employee Assistance Program – An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems (e.g., marital, financial or emotional problems; family issues; substance/alcohol abuse) which may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance.

    Employee Recognition Bonus – This is a payment to employees that rewards performance or significant accomplishments.

    Employee Referral Program – An employee referral program is a recruiting strategy where current employees are rewarded for referring qualified candidates for employment.

    Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – Employee resource groups (ERGs), also called affinity groups, are employee groups that come together either voluntarily, based on a common interest or background, or at the request of a company. Examples of common ERGs are those formed around race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, religion or belief, or generation.

    Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – A federal law that sets the standards for most employer-sponsored health and retirement plans, including disclosure and reporting criteria.

    Employee Self-Service Portal – Employee self-service (ESS) portals are Web-based tools through which employees can access relevant information and conduct certain transactions from a central online site or gateway. An employee self-service portal is often used to deliver corporate and HR-related information as well as allow employees to enroll in benefits and update personal information. The type and layout of these portals will vary from organization to organization.

    Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) – An employee benefit plan that permits employees to own shares in the company.

    Employer Contributions – The amount an employer pays toward an employee benefit plan, on behalf of its employees, such as an employer’s contribution towards employees’ health insurance or 401(k).

    Employment at Will – Employment at will is a legal doctrine which states that an employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or employee at any time and for any or no reason as long as no laws are violated. Some form of employment at will is recognized in all states except Montana and can be nullified by an express or implied employment contract.

    Employee Recognition Bonus – This is a payment to employees that rewards performance or significant accomplishments.

    Equity – Equity is the fair treatment in access, opportunity and advancement for all individuals.

    Equity Compensation – Non-cash pay that is offered to employees, at times accompanying a below-market salary. Equity compensation may include options, restricted stock, and performance shares; all of these investment vehicles represent ownership in the firm for a company’s employees.

    Essential Job Functions – Essential job functions are those job duties that an employee must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation.

    Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – A type of healthcare plan that covers only services administered within the plan’s network, except in emergency cases.

    Exempt Employees – Exempt positions are jobs that qualify for an exemption from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) white-collar and industry exemptions. Employees in exempt positions must generally be paid on a salary basis with limited exceptions.

    Exit Interview – An exit interview is a conversation or questionnaire conducted at the time of an employee’s resignation used to identify the underlying factors behind an employee’s decision to leave.

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) sets requirements for minimum wage, overtime, record keeping and child labor.

    Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer unpaid, job-protected leave to qualifying employees for medically-related reasons. Amended in 2008 and 2009, it also provides for leave when a family member in the military is injured and needs care, and for other military service-related exigencies.

    Flexwork – An arrangement with an employer to set an employee’s schedule that may vary from other employees. Usually this is a variation from the standard working-in-the-office between the hours of 9AM and 5PM, Monday through Friday.

    Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – An employer-sponsored benefit that enables employees to set aside pretax money (via payroll deduction) to pay for qualified out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

    Floating Holiday – A paid day off that some employers offer in addition to vacation time, sick time, and paid holidays observed throughout the year. These employees typically get 1 or 2 days off (for floating holidays purposes) per year. They also get to choose when to take the floating holiday.

    Form I-9 – The form I-9 (or I-9 form) is a document required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the U.S.

    Fringe Benefits – As defined by the IRS: “a form of pay (including property, services, cash or cash equivalent) in addition to stated pay for the performance of services.”

    Full-time Equivalent (FTE) – Full-time equivalent (FTE) is the number of full-time hours being worked by both full-time and part-time employees. The FTE calculation is an employee’s scheduled hours divided by the employer’s hours for a full-time workweek. When an employer has a 40-hour workweek, employees who are scheduled to work 40 hours per week are 1.0 FTEs. Employees scheduled to work 20 hours per week are 0.5 FTEs.

    Fully Insured Plan – A fully insured plan is a group health insurance plan where the employer contracts with another organization to assume financial responsibility for the enrollees’ medical claims and for all incurred administrative costs.

    Furlough – A furlough is a mandatory temporary leave of absence from which the employee is expected to return to work or to be restored from a reduced work schedule.

  • Gig Worker – Gig workers are individuals who work temporary jobs as freelancers, independent contractors, on-call workers and temporary employees to fill gaps needed by employers. Gig workers typically set their own terms.

    Green Jobs – Can be either jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources; or jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – A health care flexible spending account (FSA) is a benefits plan designed to allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses such as co-pays, deductibles and other out of pocket medical expenses. Unused FSA funds are forfeited to the employer at the end of each plan year.

    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the privacy of personal medical information, prohibits discrimination based on health status in group health plans and allows for special group health plan enrollment opportunities.

    Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – A type of health insurance plan that gives members access to healthcare providers who are within the plan network. To receive coverage, employees must stay within the network, except in emergency situations. They must also choose a primary care provider within the network.

    Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) – A health reimbursement account (HRA), also known as a health reimbursement arrangement, is an employer-funded benefits plan that reimburses employees for eligible medical expenses such as co-pays, deductibles and other out of pocket medical expenses. Unused HRA funds are forfeited to the employer at the end of each plan year.

    Health Savings Account (HSA) – A health savings account (HSA) is a benefits plan designed to allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses such as co-pays, deductibles and other out of pocket medical expenses. Employees must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan to be eligible to contribute to an HSA. These accounts are owned by the employee and unused funds rollover year to year.

    Hidden Job Market – jobs or opportunities that are not posted on job boards or advertised with recruiters. Typically, individuals find these opportunities through networking.

    High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) – A plan with a higher deductible than a traditional insurance plan. The monthly premium is usually lower, but individuals pay more health care costs before the insurance company starts to pay its share (i.e. the deductible). A high deductible plan (HDHP) can be combined with a health savings account (HSA), allowing individuals to pay for certain medical expenses with money free from federal taxes.

    Human Resource Management (HRM) – A business function that improves human resource (HR) tasks and responsibilities. It helps businesses achieve their organizational goals, such as recruiting new employees or administering employee benefits.

  • Independent Contractor – Independent contractors are self-employed individuals who perform work on a contract basis for an employer. Independent contractors are not employees and therefore are not subject to employment tax withholding nor are they covered by most employment laws. Because of this nonemployee status, there are legal restrictions as to who can be classified as an independent contractor. Various federal government agencies and some states have their own tests to determine independent-contractor status.

    Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Account (ICHRA) – An individual coverage health reimbursement account (ICHRA) is a limited HRA plan that can be offered to employees as an alternative to traditional group health plan coverage. ICHRAs can reimburse medical care expenses, including premiums for individual health insurance chosen by the employee, while maintaining the tax-favored status for employer contributions toward a traditional group health plan.

    Individual Retirement Account (IRA) – An investment account that lets individuals save for retirement. An IRA can be traditional, meaning pretax; or Roth, meaning after-tax.

    In-Network Provider – A doctor, hospital, healthcare provider, or pharmacy that a health plan contracts with to deliver healthcare services to its members.

    Insurance – An arrangement where a company or government agency provides compensation for a specified loss, damage, illness, death, or other incident. Examples of insurance include medical, dental, vision, disability, and others.

    Intellectual Property – Intellectual property is protected property by law such as trade secrets, confidential or proprietary information, copyrightable or creative works, ideas, patents, or inventions.

    Investment Income – Income an individual receives from an investment, like interest payments from a bank or dividends from a stock.

  • Job Description – A job description is a written description of a job which includes information regarding the general nature of the work to be performed, specific responsibilities and duties, and the employee characteristics required to perform the job.

    Job Reference Immunity Statutes – Job reference immunity statutes are laws enacted in several states meant to provide employers with protection from liability when disclosing information regarding current or former employees. Typically for an employer to be immune from liability the reference provided must be factual and truthful, based on documented information, and not be given with malicious intent.

    Job Shadowing – A type of training where an employee or intern follows and observes another employee carry out their job for a set period of time. HR departments use job shadowing to onboard new employees, train employees transitioning to a new role, and teach students or interns about the requirements of a certain role.

    Just-Cause Termination – Just-cause termination, in contrast to employment at will, indicates an employee’s employment will not be terminated without prior notice and process of informing the employee in writing of the job performance issues.

  • Key Employee – Under FMLA statutes, a key employee is defined as a salaried employee who is among the highest-paid 10 percent of all workers employed by the employer within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. The IRS defines a key employee for employer-sponsored retirement plans as a plan participant who is a highly compensated officer or company owner.

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable or qualitative, specific measures of an organization’s performance in critical areas of its business.

  • Labor Certification – A labor certification is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) allowing an employer to hire a foreign worker because there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to fill a particular job. The DOL labor certification process is intended to assure that the admission of foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

    Layoff – A layoff is a separation of employment due to lack of work during periods of economic downturn or organizational restructuring. Layoffs may be permanent, or employers may implement a temporary layoff with the intention of recalling workers if circumstances allow. Layoffs may sometimes be referred to as “termination without prejudice.”

    Leave (of Absence) or LOA – Employee time-off from work. Some leaves are required by law; others are given at the employer’s discretion. Examples include family leave, disability leave, maternity/parental/adoption leave, bereavement leave, jury duty, etc. May be paid or unpaid.

    Lifetime Limit – A cap on the total lifetime benefits an individual may get from their insurance company. An insurance company may impose a total lifetime dollar limit on benefits (like a $1 million lifetime cap) or limits on specific benefits (like a $200,000 lifetime cap on organ transplants or one gastric bypass per lifetime) or a combination of the two. After a lifetime limit is reached, the insurance plan will no longer pay for covered services.

    Longevity/Service Bonus – This is a bonus or a lump-sum payment paid to employees on the basis of their length of service.

    Long-term Disability – Provide a monthly benefit to eligible employees who, because of a non-work-related illness or injury, are unable to work for an extended length of time. Benefits usually are paid as a fixed percentage of pre-disability earnings, up to a set limit. Most participants have a waiting period of 3 to 6 months, or until sick leave or short-term disability benefits end, before long-term disability benefits begin. Long-term disability benefits generally continue until retirement or a specified age, or for a period that varies with the employee’s age at the time of the disability.

  • Mandatory Benefits – Mandatory benefits, also known as statutory benefits, are benefits that employers are required by law to provide to their employees. Examples include worker’s compensation insurance, unemployment insurance and, under some state and local laws, paid sick leave.

    Master Promissory Note – A legal document that an individual signs upon receiving government loan (e.g. education loans) that indicates that they promise to pay off loan and any accrued interest.

    Maximum Out-of-Pocket Expense – With insurance, this feature limits the dollar amount a group member is required to pay out-of-pocket during a year, in addition to the plan deductible. Until it is met, the plan and the member share in the cost of covered expenses. After the maximum is reached, the insurer pays all covered expenses.

    Medicaid – A joint federal and state program that gives health insurance coverage to some people with limited income or resources.

    Medical Insurance – A type of insurance used to help individuals with the associated costs for preventative and diagnostic care and treatment. The costs of prescription medications are usually covered by medical insurance.

    Medicare – A federal health insurance plan for people aged 65 or older, some younger people with disabilities, or people with end-stage Renal disease.

    Mentor – A person or friend, typically an individual with more experience, who serves as a trusted advisor and offers to advise or train someone.

    Micromanagement – A term used to describe an overbearing management style in which a supervisor closely monitors and controls each detail of an indiviudalʻs workload.

    Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) – A minority business enterprise (MBE) is a certification designation offered by the National Minority Supplier Development Council to for-profit, U.S.-based enterprises that are at least 51 percent owned and run by one or more minorities. In the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more minorities and management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more minorities. A minority business designation is also available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small companies doing business with the U.S. government.

    Mission Statement – A concise explanation of the organization’s reason for existence. It describes the organization’s purpose and its overall intention.

  • Network – The facilities, providers and suppliers a person’s health insurer or plan has contracted with to provide health care services. May be divided into in-network or out-of-network.

    Noncompete Agreement – A noncompete agreement is a contract restricting an employee from obtaining employment with a competitor within a specified industry, distance and/or time frame.

    Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) – A nondisclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, is a contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information outside of the company.

    Nondiscretionary Bonus – Nondiscretionary bonuses are payments that are promised or expected and tend to be dependent on the quality, quantity or efficiency of production or hours worked.

    Nonexempt Employees – A nonexempt position, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is one that must be paid overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. By definition, it does not meet any of the exemptions to the FLSA that would allow an employer not to pay overtime.

    Non-Preferred Provider – A healthcare provider who doesn’t have a contract with the employee’s health insurer or plan to provide services. Individuals typically pay more to see a non-preferred provider.

  • Ombudsperson/Ombudsman – A person who investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints within an organization.

    Onboarding – The process in which new hires are integrated into an organization. It includes not only an initial new-hire orientation process, but an ongoing introduction to an organization’s structure, culture, vision, mission and values. Onboarding can last weeks and even up to a year.

    Open-Enrollment Period/Season – A period set by the company where an employee can elect or manage new and existing benefits. Outside of an open enrollment period, employees may be eligible to change certain benefits due to a qualifying life event.

    Orientation – The process of introducing new employees to their jobs, co-workers and the organization by providing them with information regarding such items as policies, procedures, company history, goals, culture and work rules.

    Out-of-Network Provider – A healthcare provider who does not have a contract with a health insurer to provide services within the plan’s network.

    Out-of-Pocket Limit – The maximum an insured can be required to pay for covered healthcare services in the plan year.

  • Pay Equity – The practice of ensuring fair and equal pay practices to all employees regardless of gender, race, age or other protected characteristics.

    Pay Grade – Refers to a grouping of jobs at an organization that have approximately the same relative internal worth and are paid at the same or similar rate.

    Pay Range – Also known as a salary range, sets the upper and lower compensation limits for jobs within a particular pay grade at an organization.

    Pension – A type of benefit where eligible employees can receive regular payments following their retirement or other stipulated period. Employers typically make regular financial contributions to an investment fund and retired employees receive payments from that account. This is different from a 401k benefit.

    Performance Evaluation/Review – The formal process, usually initiated by Human Resources, to evaluate individual employee performance. Performance evaluations are usually done at least once per year and can be utilized for promotion, discipline, termination or other business needs.

    Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) – Also known as a performance action plan, is a tool to give an employee with performance deficiencies the opportunity to succeed. It may be used to address failures to meet specific job goals or to mitigate behavior-related concerns.

    Performance Management – The process of maintaining or improving employee job performance through the use of performance assessment tools, coaching and counseling as well as providing continuous feedback.

    Performance-Based Pay – Also called pay for performance, is a variable pay strategy that pays employees based on their individual performance and contributions, rather than the value of the job they are performing.

    Phased Retirement – A work schedule arrangement that allows older workers to reduce their working hours and gradually transition into retirement.

    Pink Slip – A term used to describe notices distributed to employees to inform them of involuntary termination or layoff.

    Plan Administrator – The person or entity responsible for managing the day-to-day aspects of an employer’s benefit plan, as designated in the plan document.

    Point of Service (POS) Plan – A type of health insurance plan that allows members to access care from in-network and out-of-network providers. However, members must choose a primary care provider.

    Power Test – A type of pre-hire assessment used by organizations to calculate an individual’s level of mastery on a particular topic. Questions are designed to become progressively more difficult as the assessment progresses.

    Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – Covers both in-network and out-of-network healthcare. Members do not have to choose a primary care provider.

    Premium – The amount an employer pays for health insurance coverage. Employees pay their share of premium via payroll deduction.

    Pre-tax Deductions – Money deducted from an employee’s wages before applicable payroll taxes are withheld. Pretax deductions reduce the employee’s taxable wages.

    Profit Sharing – This is a payment to employees in recognition of their contribution to company profitability. Payments may vary with length of service.

    Progressive Discipline – A method of discipline that uses graduated steps for dealing with problems related to an employee’s conduct or performance that do not meet defined standards and policies. The ultimate objective of progressive discipline is to help employees correct conduct problems and resolve performance issues in the earliest stages.

    Protected Class – Refers to certain groups of individuals protected by anti-discrimination laws, such as women, older workers, people with disabilities, minorities and others.

    Protected Concerted Activity – Refers to an employee’s right, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to address work-related issues—such as wages, benefits and working conditions—with co-workers. An employer cannot discharge, discipline, threaten an employee or coercively question an employee about such an activity.

  • Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) – An order, decree, judgment or administrative notice (including a settlement agreement) requiring a group health plan to cover an employee’s child. QMCSOs are typically issued during a divorce and require the noncustodial parent to enroll their dependent in available medical, dental and vision coverage and any spending accounts that may be offered.

    Qualifying Life Event – A change in an employee’s situation that allows the employee to change an election under the employer’s group health plan outside of the open enrollment period. Qualifying life events include events such as marriage, the birth of a child and changes in residence.

  • Reasonable Accommodation – A reasonable accommodation, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a modification or adjustment of a job process or work environment that will better enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job.

    Reduction in Force (RIF) – Occurs when a position is eliminated with no intention of replacing it, resulting in a permanent cut in headcount. These reductions are due to economic pressures, lack of work, organizational changes or other reasons of business necessity which require a reduction in staff.

    Religious Accommodation – An accommodation, such as time off from work, made for an employee so they may exercise their religious beliefs or practices. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would create an undue hardship.

    Repatriation – The process of returning an employee to the home country after being placed on a long-term international assignment.

    Resident Alien – A resident alien, or lawful permanent resident, is a foreign-born individual who has the legal right to live permanently in the United States. These individuals will have a Permanent Resident Card, often referred to as a “green card.” Resignation (“Quitting”) – The act of an individual notifying their employer that they no longer want to work. Some organizations and some states may have policies or laws governing when or how an employee can resign.

    Retirement – The period of time when an individual chooses to permanently leave the workforce. In the US, this is typically around the age of 65 but can vary. Individuals may rely on different sources of income (e.g. retirement plans, pension plans) and benefits (e.g. medicare).

    Right-to-Sue Letter – Is issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) once a charge has been recorded and processed, informing the individual who filed the charge that they have the right to further pursue their charges in a federal or state court.

    Right-to-Work – Refers to certain laws at the state level in the U.S. that impact unions, employers, and collective bargaining. Right-to-work states/areas govern whether or not employees are required to join a union in order to gain employment, or whether unions can or cannot require membership among a workforce.

    Right-to-Work State – A state that has enacted legislation guaranteeing that no individual can be forced as a condition of employment to join or pay dues or fees to a labor union. States have the right to enact these laws under Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

    Roth IRA – A form of individual retirement account (IRA) where individuals pay taxes on money going into their account so they do not pay taxes on withdrawals. This is different from a Traditional IRA.

  • Self-Funded/Self-Insured Plan – A benefits plan where the employer assumes all financial responsibility for the enrollees’ medical claims and for all incurred administrative costs. This saves the employer from paying premiums to an insurance carrier.

    Serious Health Condition – Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

    Short-Term Disability – Provide benefits for non-work-related illnesses or accidents on a per-disability basis, typically for a 6-month to 12-month period. Benefits are paid as a percentage of employee earnings or as a flat dollar amount. Short-term disability benefits vary with the amount of predisability earnings, length of service with the establishment, or length of disability.

    Skill-Based Pay – A system which makes the base rate contingent on how many job-related skills the employee has learned, the level of skills mastery or a combination of both.

    Skills Gap – Refers to the difference between the skills an employer needs and the skills employees and applicants have. When discussed broadly, it includes the idea that there is a shortage of workers to fill this gap.

    Soft Skills – Are those related to behavioral and interpersonal abilities, such as the ability to effectively communicate, problem-solve, collaborate and organize. May also be referred to as interpersonal or essential skills.

    Special Enrollment Period – A period outside of open enrollment that allows employees to enroll in benefits or modify their benefits. Typically lasts 30 days.

    Spot Award – An immediate monetary or nonmonetary award given to an employee for an idea or accomplishment benefiting the organization.

    Stay Interview – An interview conducted with an employee to learn why the employee continues to work for the employer and what could trigger the employee to consider leaving.

    Structured Interview – Asks the same questions of each candidate so that valid comparisons of the quality of responses can be obtained.

    Succession Planning – The process of identifying long-range organizational human capital needs and cultivating a supply of internal talent to meet those future needs. Succession planning is used to anticipate the future needs of the organization and to assist in finding, assessing and developing the human capital necessary to realize the strategy of the organization.

  • Telecommuting – Also known as remote work, is an employment arrangement where individuals work outside of a traditional office, such as at their home or other location. They use technology to conduct work and stay connected to managers and co-workers.

    Termination (“Fired”) – The act of an organization ending the employment of an individual employee. Termination may be due to misconduct, poor performance, or due to changing business needs. In some instances, an individual who has been terminated may not be eligible for rehire (“termination with prejudice”).

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression) and religion.

    Total Compensation – Refers to the complete pay package awarded to employees on an annual basis, including all direct and nondirect compensation such as salary, health care and retirement benefits, incentive pay, and paid time off.

    Traditional IRA – A form of individual retirement account (IRA) where individuals do not pay taxes on money going into their account but will pay taxes on withdrawals. This is different from a Roth IRA.

  • Unemployment Insurance – A joint federal-state program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers, such as those who lose their job through no fault of their own.

    Unfair Labor Practice – An action by an employer or a union that violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). There are five categories of unfair labor practices for employers that are prohibited under the NLRA: 1) Interference, restraint or coercion; 2) Employer domination or support of a labor organization; 3) Discrimination on the basis of labor activity; 4) Discrimination in retaliation for contacting the NLRB; and 5) Refusal to bargain.

    Unmarried Domestic Partner Benefits – Some employers extend benefits to domestic partners, defined as two unrelated, unmarried adults who share the same household. In order to qualify for benefits, an employee may need to demonstrate that a partner meets certain criteria set by the employer. Employers may set their own criteria for what constitutes an eligible domestic partner. Benefits offered employees that extend to domestic partners include healthcare plans and survivor benefits within defined benefit retirement plans.

    Upskilling – Refers to employee training that builds on existing skills. An example would be intermediate and advanced training for a particular skill, such as coding.

  • Values Statement – Lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and its culture.

    Venture Capital – Capital or money invested in a project in which there is a substantial element of risk, typically for a new or expanding business.

    Vesting – In a retirement plan, vesting refers to “ownership.” If all of the money in an employee’s 401(k) is 100% vested, it means the funds belong fully to the employee.

    Vision Insurance – A type of insurance that can be used to cover the costs associated with eye exams, frames/lenses/contacts, and some eye procedures (e.g. cataracts, laser eye surgery, etc.).

    Vision Statement – Looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve. It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees.

    Voluntary Benefit – Is a benefit which is not required to be offered to employees by law.

  • W-2 – A tax form that shows important information about the income an individual has earned from their employer, amount of taxes withheld from their paycheck, benefits contributions, and some additional information.

    W-4 – A form completed by employees to let employers know how much tax to withhold from their paycheck.

    Waiting Period – The period of time that must pass before an employee’s benefit coverage begins. For example, employees may need to wait up to 90 days (after enrolling) for their health coverage to kick in.

    Weingarten Rights – The Weingarten rule gives unionized employees the right to union representation during an investigatory interview by the employer.

    Wellness Program – An employer-sponsored benefit aimed at promoting, improving, and maintaining employees’ general health. May include weight loss, stress management, smoking cessation, gym membership, and health screenings.

    Worker Adjustment and Retaining Act (WARN) – A U.S. labor law passed in 1988 that requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide advance notices (60 calendar days) of planned closings and layoffs.

    Workers Compensation Insurance – A type of insurance that provides wage replacement and/or medical care for employees who are injured or contract an illness as a direct result of their employment.

    Work Visa – A permit that allows an individual to work in another country. Typically added as a document or stamp in a passport, a work visa is usually temporary but can be eligible for renewal under certain conditions. Work visas, and requirements for obtaining one, vary from country to country.

  • No vocabulary at this time.

  • No vocabulary at this time.

  • No vocabulary at this time.

Terms and definitions have been compiled in whole or part from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Capterra HR Glossary, Zenefits, the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) Glossary, and the Glossary. Information contained here is for educational purposes only and should not be used as legal or financial advice.