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Is HR Your Second Language?
By Sonya Buck, Australia


Wouldn’t it be perfect world if all businesses were large enough to hire a dedicated Human Resources and Payroll professional or team?

Someone to handle the day to day employment tasks which are sometimes complex and confusing would be ideal, as Human Resources can be just be another task which takes you away from the practical aspects of your everyday work.

None of us can be experts at all things and for those where HR may be your second language, it may be useful to be familiar with some basic HR and Payroll terminology and jargon.

Ageism:  Age discrimination

Annual leave entitlements: Accumulated for such periods but which have not been taken are payable on termination

Award: Awards cover an occupation or industry and have the minimum terms and conditions that apply to employees who are covered by them.

Affirmative action:  Requirement that employers develop and implement programs to eliminate discrimination against women and members of minority groups, and promote equal opportunity in regard to recruitment, promotion and transfer, training and development and conditions of service.

Casual employee: Employed by the hour and only employed and paid for the hours worked.

Independent contractor: Hired under a contract for services. The independent contractor manages the way the task is performed, and how the contract relates to the task to be performed. (Tip: Make sure they have an A.B.N)

Loading: A loading is an extra payment made on top of an employee's base rate of pay. Loadings generally come from an employee's award or agreement.

Part-time employee: Employment on a regular basis for less than the usual hours per week worked in the relevant industry. Sometimes referred to as ‘Permanent Part-time’

Performance appraisal: Part of the performance management cycle in which the employee’s performance is evaluated and recorded. Older terminology is ‘Annual Review’

Performance management: Process designed to evaluate, manage and improve employee performance. Commonly used if an employee has not met expectations.

Probation: Period at commencement of employment designed to ascertain skills and capabilities of employees, and for employees to determine whether workplace meets their needs.

Pro-rata: Pro-rata means proportionate. We usually use this term when we're talking about part-time employee entitlements. Some Pro-rata examples may be Annual Leave or Wages.

Redundancy: Employer no longer wishes a particular job to be done. Position becomes redundant.

Retrenchment: Termination resulting from redundancy.

Sexual discrimination: Less favourable treatment on the grounds of a person’s sex or because of a characteristic relating to, or imputed to, a person’s sex.

Summary dismissal: Termination is immediate and without notice as a result of misconduct, disobedience or incompetence.

Suspension: Employee is instructed to refrain from attending work for a period of time as a result of a disciplinary process.

Temporary employee: Can be employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis, but the expectation is that the work is not ongoing.

Unfair dismissal:  Termination is harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

Wrongful dismissal: Employee is dismissed in a way that breaches their employment contract.

You can find further information at