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Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with developmental disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

Plain Language Employment Glossary

The following plain language glossary was written as part of the Inclusion BC / BC Self Advocacy Foundation publication, Finding a Job and Keeping it: Tips for self advocates, published in 2001. The booklet is currently being updated and copies of the new issue will be available soon.

Employment – Real work for real pay. Pay is the same as any other employee in that position. People in real work enjoy the rights of every other employee typical for that industry and are protected by legislated employment and safety standards.

Inclusive Employment – The amount of workers with disabilities is roughly equal to the amount of people with disabilities in the general population. For example, if the amount of people with disabilities in the community is 10 %, then the employees with disabilities should represent 10 % of the business.

Customized Employment – An individualized employment relationship between employees and employers that is designed to meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized plan called “Discovery” that finds out your skills, interests and abilities and matches those with the needs of the employer.

Supported Employment – Real work with ongoing support and expertise.

Enclave/Work Crew – A group of segregated employees who are contracted by a social service agency to perform a repetitive and specific job within a larger business.

Micro enterprise – Small businesses owned and operated by individuals who are the sole recipients of the profit.

Social Enterprise – Social mission-driven organizations pursuing profitable outcomes through operating a business.

Volunteer – Tasks performed on the shared understanding that no financial payment will be provided. Volunteering is not employment or a job but can be a valuable extracurricular activity to do after work to give back to your community or gain extra skills.

Work experience – Time-limited work performed for the purpose of gaining skills and experience in a particular job, often part of a high school program. Unpaid work experience is not a job.

Centre based day programs – Programs whose activities are not necessarily focused on employment and tend to be congregated and segregated activity centres.

Seasonal work – Work that is only available at certain times of the year; like landscaping or snow removal.

Shift-work – Working different shifts during the days or nights that may change back and forth between day and night.

Full-time – Work between 35 and 40 hours per week.

Part-time – Work that is less than 35 hours per week and can be a little as 2 hours per week.

Casual/Relief – People who work casual or relief are usually on an “on call” list. The employer phones the people on the list to fill in for workers who are sick or on holidays. They may also use the on-call list if they have extra work during the year like Christmas rush or for special events.

Union – A group of employees who join together to talk to the employer about working conditions and wages. If you work at a place that is unionized you will have to pay union dues. Union dues are money that is taken off your cheque and paid to the union. A shop steward is a person at work who represents the union. They can help you as their co-worker understand your rights as a union member.

Gross pay – Is the total amount of money you make on your pay cheque before deductions are taken off.

Net pay – Is the amount of money left on your pay cheque after deductions are taken off.

Honorarium – Pay provided in recognition of a contribution made by an individual, it is not a wage.

Deductions – Things like income tax, employment insurance, Canada Pension plan contributions, medical and dental benefits and union dues. Your pay stub is a record that shows you what your deductions were.