Glossary of Terms





The practice of regularly staying away from work or school without good reason.

Ad hoc

Created or done for a particular purpose as necessary.

Base pay

The fixed amount of money paid to an employee by an employer in return for work performed. Base pay does not include benefits, bonuses or any other potential compensation from an employer. In ECEC, base pay also refers to an employee’s salary before any incentive pay is added.


A standard or point of reference against which things may be compared.

Bona fide

Genuine; real.


Spontaneous group discussion to produce ideas and / or ways of solving problems.


Agreement with, or acceptance of, a policy or suggestion.

Cafeteria style

In ECEC, this typically refers to benefits packages, where they are designed in such a way that employees may select from various options in order to meet their personal needs.


A person who vigorously supports or defends a person or cause.


A type of insurance in which the insured pays a share of the payment made against a claim.


An official announcement or statement, especially one made to the media.

Competency framework

The integrated knowledge, skills, judgment, and attributes needed to perform a job effectively.


Agreement or harmony; compatibility.


An association, typically of several companies.

Constructive dismissal

When an employer changes an employee’s job scope or conditions of work in such a fundamental way that it amounts to giving them a different job, and makes it difficult for the employee to accept the new arrangements.


Making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.


Acronym for Employee Assistance Program.


Related to workplace and workspace design, intended to minimize physical injury, fatigue, stress and discomfort and maximize productivity and/or efficiency.

Fiduciary duty

legal obligation of one party to act in the best interest of another. The obligated party is typically a fiduciary, that is, someone entrusted with the care.

GLBTQ community

Acronym for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Governing Body

A group of people who formulate the policy and direct the affairs of an institution in partnership with Management.  In the ECEC sector, this is typically on a voluntary and part-time basis.

For more information on governance models in ECEC, read the CCHRSC’s Employer Models in Canada’s ECEC Sector report.


Sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Incentive plan

Motivate employees to exceed expectations resulting in a positive impact on the business.

Incumbent upon

Necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility.

Intellectual Capital 

Valuable corporate memory or collective knowledge (whether or not documented) of the individuals in an organization.


Belonging by its very nature; belonging naturally; essential. For example, intrinsically, the offering of benefits indicates the employer is committed to staff.

Job Shadow

An activity that enables a person to spend some time observing someone on the job.


The theory or philosophy of law which provides a deeper understanding of the nature and reason for the law.


A person who attempts to make people involved in a conflict come to an agreement; a go-between.


An experienced person who counsels a less experienced person. In ECEC, an example might be a veteran supervisor who is a mentor to a new supervisor. For more information on mentoring in ECEC, visit the Mentoring Pairs for Child Care site.


Control every part, however small, of (an enterprise or activity).


Make (something bad) less severe, serious, or painful.


An official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints; typically against an organization.


An organization’s involvement with or influence in the community.

Per diem

Amount paid for each day (used in a financial context).


The aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.


Relating to the interrelation of social factors and individual thought and behaviour.


A period of paid leave granted for study or travel.

Sandwich Generation

A generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible both for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents.

Severance pay

An amount paid to an employee on the early termination of a contract.

Skills inventory

Listing of abilitiescapacitiesqualifications, and career goals of the employees.  Typically used to identify training needs or suitable candidates for internal recruitment or promotion.


A written law passed by a legislative body.


Maintaining a certain rate or level.


A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.


An official appointed to supervise arrangements or keep order at a large public event.


A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

Transitioning employee 

Employee in the process of changing gender, including hormones, cross living and surgery.


A person who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex.


The rate at which employees leave a workforce and are replaced.

Under employed

(Of a person) not having enough paid work or not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities.


Performed by or affecting only one person, group, or country involved in a situation, without the agreement of another or the others.


Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgment of what is important in life.


The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.

Wrongful hiring

Refers to a situation where an employer makes inaccurate or misleading statements, with the intent of enticing a candidate to accept employment with the employer.  The employer may then by subject to a claim of negligent misrepresentation.


Intolerance of a particular behaviour. Zero tolerance of a particular behaviour should be reflected in your organization’s policies, and agreed to by all employees.

360-degree feedback

Feedback that comes from all around an employee. "360" refers to the 360 degrees in a circle, with an individual figuratively in the centre of the circle. Feedback is provided by subordinates, peers and supervisors.