Glossary of HR Terms starting with Alphabet P

Paid time off (PTO): A benefit program granting employees a specific number of vacation or personal days off which that are paid by the employer, The number of days is generally based on the employer’s policy for accrual of paid time off.

Paired-comparison method: Refers to a job ranking method in which elevator compares each job with every other job being evaluated.

Panel interview: Group or team interview of a job candidate or interview in which several interviews interview the candidate at the same time.

Parallel bargaining: Takes place when unions negotiate provisions covering wages and other benefits similar to those already provided in other agreements existing within the industry or region; also known as pattern bargaining.

Parental Leave: Absence from work by a parent to care for a child.

Participative management: Espouses the theory that every organization is a storehouse of talent that is recognized only if employees are allowed to contribute; employee input on important organizational issues is both asked for and valued. A management style, developed by Motorola, that involves employees in the decision-making process.

Part-time employee: An individual who continually works less than 40 hours per week (standard workweek hours are based on individual employer policy, therefore, a 40-hour workweek is only a guideline; this number could be higher or lower).

Paternity leave: A benefit designed to provide fathers of newborn children with paid or a unpaid time off from work following the birth of the child.

Pattern/Practice discrimination: Employer actions constituting a pattern of conduct resulting in discriminatory treatment toward the members of a class. Pattern or practice discrimination generally is demonstrated in large measure through statistical evidence, and can be proven under either the disparate treatment or disparate impact model.

Patterned interview: When the interviewer ask each applicant questions that are from the same knowledge, skill, or ability area; the questions, however, are not necessarily the same; also called a targeted interview.

Pay adjustment: Any change made to the pay rate of an employee, such as an increase or decrease to the rate of pay.

Pay compression: A situation occurring when only a small difference in pay exists between employees, regardless of their knowledge, skills, abilities or experience. Oftentimes, it is the result of a market-rate for a given job surpassing the increases historically awarded to long-term employees.

Pay equity: Similarly in pay for jobs requiring comparable levels on knowledge,skills, and ability even where actual job duties differ significantly.

Pay grades: A grouping of individual jobs having approximately the same job worth.

Payroll records: Documentation created and maintained by the employer, which contains information regarding hours worked, salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, vacation/sick pay, contributions to qualified health and pension plans, net pay and deductions for all employees on the employer’s payroll for the year.

Pay structure: A structure of job grades and pay ranges established within an organization. May be expressed as job grades or job evaluation points.

Pay survey: A collection of data on existing compensation rates for workers performing similar jobs in the other organizations.

Peer appraisal: A performance appraisal strategy whereby an employee is reviewed by his or her peers who have sufficient opportunity to examine the individual’s job performance.

Peer review panel: Alternative dispute resolution method in which a panel of employees hear appeals from disciplined employees and make recommendations or decisions.

Pension plan: Retirement benefits established and funded by employers and employees.

Performance appraisal: The process of evaluating how well employees perform their jobs when compared to a set of standards, and then communicating that information.

Performance bonus: One-time payment made to an employee; often called a lump-sum increase.

Performance-based pay: Refers to a situation where an individual’s performance is the basis for either the amount or timing of pay increases also called merit pay.

Performance counseling: The process of improving employee performance and productivity by providing the employee with feedback regarding areas where he or she is doing well and areas that may require improvement.

Performance improvement plan: A plan implemented by a manager or supervisor that is designed to provide employees with constructive feedback, facilitate discussions between an employee and his or her supervisor regarding performance-related issues, and outline specific areas of performance requiring improvement.

Performance goal: A target level of performance expressed as tangible, measurable objective against  which actual performance can be compared, including a goal expressed as a quantitative standard, value, or rate.

Performance management system:  Processes used to identify, encourage, measure, evaluate, improve, and reward employee performance.

Performance monitoring: The practice of monitoring employees while they perform their jobs through the use of surveillance cameras, telephone or computer monitoring.

Performance-sharing plans: Organization-wide incentive plans in which funds are made available for incentive awards based on predetermined criteria and standards.

Performance standards: Indicators of what the job accomplishes and how performance is measured; expected levels of performance.

Perks/Perquisites: Special benefits-usually non cash items for executives.

Permissive issues: Collective bargaining issues that are not mandatory but relate to certain jobs.

Personal days: A benefits designed to provide employees with an allotment of paid days off in addition to holidays, sick days or vacation days, which they can use to attend to personal matters.

Personality tests: Attempts to measure a person’s social interaction skills and patterns of behavior; report what might be described as traits, temperaments, or dispositions.

Personal protective equipment: Clothing and other work accessories(i.e.,safety glasses, hearing protection, etc) designed to create a barrier against potential workplace hazards.

Personnel records: All information pertaining to individual employees, which is collected and maintained by the employer and is essential to the employer for handling various employment-related matters.

Person-based pay systems: Pay systems in which employee characteristics, rather than the job, determine pay.

Phased retirement: A work schedule arrangement that allows employees to gradually reduce their full-time hours over a period of time.

Physical ability test: A test instrument used to determine an individual’s ability to perform the functions or tasks of a job where physical strength or endurance is required.

Physical examination: A medical examination performed by a company physician or an independent physician to ascertain whether or not an individual is able to perform the physical requirements of a particular job.

Piece rate: A per-piece rate system that pays employees based on the number of pieces produced.

Pink slip: A written or verbal notice given to employees who are being terminated or laid-off.

Placement: Fitting a person to the right job.

Placement goals: Serve as objectives or targets in an affirmative action plan when the percentage of protected-class workers is less than is reasonably expected given availability.

Plan administrator: An individual or plan sponsor designated by the instrument under which the plan is operated to be responsible for the administration of pension and welfare benefits plans.

Policy: A written statement that reflects the employer’s standards and objectives relating to various employee activities and related matters.

Policies: General guidelines that focus organizational actions.

Polygraph test: Measures a person’s respiration, blood pressure, and perspiration while they are asked a series of questions; the outcome is a diagnostic opinion about honesty; also called lie detector test.

Portability: A pension plan feature that allows employees to move their pension benefits from one employer to another.

Position control: A workforce planning tool that imposes certain rules or restrictions on the creation, and filling of positions as a means to manage and control the costs associated with any given position within the organization.

Position discipline: A disciplinary strategy geared toward reducing and improving an individual’s unfavorable or conduct by rewarding positive behavior rather than focusing on and punishing negative behavior.

Positive reinforcement: The process of acknowledging specific behaviors with positive feedback, such as a smile, praise or reward.

Power distance: Dimension of culture that refers to the inequality among the people of a nation.

Practitioner: An individual who practices a learned profession.

Predictive validity: Validity measured when test results of applicants are compared with subsequent job performance.

Predictors: Measurable indicators of selection criteria.

Pre-employment testing: The practice of issuing test to potential employees on a pre-employment basis in order to determine an applicant’s suitability for a certain position. These tests may include, but are not limited to , drug and alcohol tests, medical examinations, skills tests, physical agility test, honesty/integrity tests or personality tests.

Preferred provider organization: A health-care provider that contracts with an employer group to provide health-care services to employees at a competitive rate.

Premium pay: Extra pay for working holidays, vacation days or outside of regularly scheduled work hours.

Prescreening interview; Useful when an organization has a high volume of applicants for job and face-to-face interviews are needed to judge prequlification factors.

Pre-employment medical examination: An evaluation of the health status of an applicant for employment.

Prima facie case: Latin for “at first view” or “at first appearance” a prima facie case is a lawsuit that requires an employer to articulate a reason that sufficiently proves that any decision or action taken was made based on legitimate and nondiscriminatory factors or a legal term that refers to a case sufficient on its face to prevail in the absence of contradictory evidence.

Primary research: Research method in which data is gathered firsthand for the specific project being conducted.

Privacy: Refers to information about an employee which he or she regards as personal or private (i.e., medical information, financial data, etc.)and the right of that individual to not have such information shared with others.

Probation: Used as a form of discipline, it is a specified period of time during which an individual’s performance or conduct is closely monitored.

Probationary period: A specified period of time (typically 30-90 days) where a newly hired, promoted or transferred employee’s job performance is evaluated. Primarily used by supervisors to closely observe an employee’s work, help the employee adjust to the position and reject any employee a whose performance does not meet required standards.

Procedural justice: The perceived fairness of the process and procedures used to make decisions about employees.

Producers: Customary methods of handling activities.

Procedures/Policy manual: A detailed written document designed to assist managers and supervisors in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities by  acquainting them with all of the organization’s policies and the procedures required to impliment those policies.

Product champion: A person who promotes a new technology throughout the organization in an effort to obtain acceptance and support for it.

Production cells: Grouping of workers who produce entire products or components of products.

Productivity: A measure of the quantity and quality of work done, considering the cost of the resources it took to do the work.

Productivity-based pay: Pay based on the quantity of work and outputs that can be accurately measured.

Profit sharing: A system to distribute a portion  of the profits of the organization to employees.

Project: A temporary program that uses human and technical resources from the  organization’s permanent units.

Promotion: Any personnel action resulting in movement to a position affording higher pay and/or greater rank, and/or requiring greater skill or responsibility.

Proprietary information: Sensitive information that is owned by a company and that gives the company certain competitive advantages.

Protected class: Those individual’s who fall within a group identified for protection under equal employment laws and regulations.

Punishment: Action taken to repel a person from an undesired action.





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