The many abbreviations and acronyms used by HR professionals can make it hard for people to understand and navigate HR conversations and challenges. This comprehensive list of the most common HR acronyms and human resources abbreviations can help you find your way.


AA: Affirmative Action or Adverse Action

AAP: Affirmative Action Plan

AAR: After Action Review

AARP: American Association of Retired Persons

AASCU: American Association of State Colleges and Universities

ABM: Activities-Based Management

ACA: The Affordable Care Act

AD&D: Accidental Death and Dismemberment

ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act

ADAAA: Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act

ADEA: Age Discrimination in Employment Act

ADL: Activities of Daily Living

ADR: Alternative Dispute Resolution

AE: Account Executive

AFL-CIO: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

AFSCME: American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

AJB: America’s Job Bank

ALE: Applicable Large Employer

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

AP: Accounts Payable

APR: Annual Percentage Rate

AR: Accounts Receivable

AR: Annual Review

ASO: Administrative Service Outsourcing

ATD: Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD: American Society for Training and Development)

ATS: Applicant Tracking System

AWOL: Absent Without Leave


B2B: Business to Business

B2C: Business to Consumer

BA: Bachelor of Arts

BAT: Breath Alcohol Testing, or Breath Alcohol Technician

BBB: Better Business Bureau

BCP: Business Continuity Plan

BC/R: Benefits Cost/Ratio

BFOQ: Bona Fide Occupational Qualification

BIW: Bi-Weekly

BLR: Business and Legal Resources

BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics

BOD: Board of Directors

BS: Bachelor of Science

BU: Bargaining Unit

BWC: Bureau of Worker’s Compensation

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device


CAI: Computer-Assisted Instruction

CBO: Chief Business Officer

CBT: Computer-Based Testing

CCL: Center for Creative Leadership

CCP: Certified Compensation Professional

CD PPO HDHP: Consumer Driver Preferred Provider Organization High Deductible Health Plan

CDR: Central Data Requests

CEBS: Certified Employee Benefits Specialist

CEO: Chief Executive Officer

CEU: Continuing Education Unit

CFO: Chief Financial Officer

CHIP: Children’s Health Insurance Program

CHIPRA: Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act

CHRO: Chief Human Resources Officer

CIO: Chief Investment Officer, or Chief Information Officer

CMO: Chief Marketing Officer

CMS: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

CO: Compliance Officer

COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment

COO: Chief Operating Officer

C&B: Compensation and Benefits

COB: Close of Business

COBRA: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985

COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment

CPE: Continuing Professional Education

CPI: Consumer Price Index

CPO: Chief Product Officer

CSO: Chief Security Officer

CTO: Compensatory Time Off

CV: Curriculum Vitae


D&O: Directors and Officers

DB: Defined Benefit

DBA: Doing Business As

DBPP: Defined Benefit Pension Plan

DCPP: Defined Contribution Pension Plan

DE&I: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

DEI&B: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

DINKS: Dual Income No Kids

DOA: Date of Accident, or Department of Administration

DOB: Date of Birth

DOH: Date of Hire

DOI: Date of Injury

DOJ: Department of Justice

DOL: Department of Labor

DOT: Department of Transportation, or Dictionary of Occupational Titles

DRP: Disaster Recovery Plan

DSF: Division of State Facilities

DW: Dislocated Worker


EAP: Employee Assistance Program

EBO: Employee Buyout

EBS: Employee Benefits Security

EBSA: Employee Benefits Security Administration

EBT: Earnings Before Taxes

EDP: Electronic Data Processing

EDP: Employee Development Plan

EE: Employee

EEO: Equal Employment Opportunity

EEOC: (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EI: Emotional Intelligence, or Employee Involvement

EIN: Employer Identification Number

EL: Extended Learning, formerly Continuing Education and Extension

EO: Executive Officer

EOB: Explanation of Benefits

EOD: End of Day

EOE: Equal Opportunity Employer

EOY: End of Year

EPA: Equal Pay Act, or Environmental Protection Agency

EPLI: Employment Practices Liability Insurance

EPPA: Employee Polygraph Protection Act

ER: Employer

ERISA: Employee Retirement Income Security Act

ESBA: Employee Benefits Security Administration

ESO: Employee Stock Option

ESOP: Employee Stock Option Plan

ETF: Employee Trust Funds


FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

FCRA: Fair Credit Reporting Act

FEIN: Federal Employment Identification Number

FEP: Fair Employment Practice

FLSA: Fair Labor Standards Act

FMLA: Family and Medical Leave Act

FR: Federal Register

FSA: Flexible Spending Account (Healthcare)

FT: Full Time

FTE: Full-Time Equivalent

FTE Count: Full-Time Equivalent Count for the Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act

FUTA: Federal Unemployment Tax Act

FY: Fiscal Year


GA: Graduate Assistant

GATB: General Aptitude Test Battery

GED: General Equivalency Diploma

GHP: Group Health Plan

GPHR: Global Professional in Human Resources

GTL: Group Term Life Insurance


HCE: Highly Compensated Employee

HCM: Human Capital Management

HDHP: High Deductible Health Plan

HF: Human Factors

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

HMO: Health Maintenance Organization

HPT: Human Performance Technology

HR: Human Resources

HRA: Health Reimbursement Account

HRCI: HR Certification Institute

HRD: Human Resource(s) Development, or Human Resources Director

HRG: Human Resources Generalist

HRIS: Human Resources Information System

HRLY: Hourly

HRM: Human Resources Manager

HRMS: Human Resources Management System

HRO: Human Resources Outsourcing

HRVP: Human Resources Vice President

HSA: Health Savings Account


IRA: Individual Retirement Account

IRCA: Immigration Reform and Control Act

IRS: Internal Revenue Service

IW: Injured Worker


JD: Job Description

JOA: Joint Operating Agreement

JSSA: Jury Selection and Service Act

JTPA: Job Training Partnership Act (now the Workforce Investment Act of 1998)


KPI: Key Performance Indicator

KPM: Key Performance Measures

KSA: Knowledge, Skills, or Abilities


L&D: Learning and Development

LI: Life Insurance

LDW: Last Day Worked

LMS: Learning Management System

LOA: Leave of Absence

LOS: Length of Service

LR: Labor Relations

LTC: Long-Term Care

LTD: Long-Term Disability

LWOP: Leave Without Pay

LWP: Leave with Pay


M&A: Merger and Acquisition

MBO: Management by Objectives

MBTI: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

MEP 401(k): Multiple Employer Plan 401(k)

MERP: Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan

MHPA: Mental Health Parity Act

MOP: Measure of Performance

MQ(s): Minimum Qualification(s)


NE: Non-Exempt

NEO: New Employee Orientation

NIOSH: National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

NLRA: National Labor Relations Act

NLRB: National Labor Relations Board


OB: Organizational Behavior

OCF: Operating Cash Flow

OCR: (US) Office of Civil Rights

OD: Organization Development

OE: Open Enrollment (for health benefits), or Operating Expense

OFCCP: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

OGC: Office of General Counsel

OI: Operating Income

OJT: On-the-Job-Training

OMB: Office of Management and Budget

ONET: Occupational Information Network

OOH: Occupational Outlook Handbook

OPM: Office of Personnel Management

OSER: Office of State Employment Relations

OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OT: Overtime


P&L: Profit and Loss

PA: Performance Assessment

PD: Position Description

PDA: Pregnancy Discrimination Act

PEO: Professional Employer Organization

PERT: Project Evaluation and Review Technique

PHR: Professional in Human Resources

PIP: Performance Improvement Plan

PM: Performance Management

PM: Project Management

PPA: Pension Protection Act

PPACA: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

PPM: Policy and Procedures Manual

PPO: Preferred Provider Organization

PR: Performance Review

PT: Part Time

PTO: Paid Time Off


QR: Quarterly Review

QWI: Quarterly Workforce Indicators


RIF: Reduction in Force

RPA: Retirement Plan Alternative

RRF: Recruitment Request Form

RTW: Return to Work


SAR: Summary Annual Report

SBA: Small Business Administration

SBC: Summary of Benefits and Coverage

SE: Salaried Exempt

SEC: Securities and Exchange Commission

SHRM: The Society for Human Resource Management

SHRM-CP: SHRM Certified Professional

SHRM-SCP: SHRM Senior Certified Professional

SMART: Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely

SME: Subject Matter Expert

SMM: Summary of Material Modification

SNE: Salaried Non-Exempt

SPD: Summary Plan Description

SPHR: Senior Professional in Human Resources

SSA: Social Security Administration

SSN or SS #: Social Security Number

STD: Short-Term Disability

SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats


T&D: Training and Development

TAP: Tuition Assistance Plan (Program)

TBD: To Be Determined

TDA: Tax Deferred Annuity

TDB: Temporary Disability Benefits

TNA: Training Needs Assessment

TPA: Third-Party Administrator

TESSA: Tax-Exempt Special Savings Account

TEUC: Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation

TIN: Tax Identification Number

TL: Time and Labor

TLM: Time and Labor Management

TM: Talent Management

TNCP: Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable

TPA: Third-Party Administrator

TPD: Temporary Partial Disability

TSA: Tax-Sheltered Annuity

TSP: Thrift Savings Plan

TTD: Temporary Total Disability


UAW: United Auto Workers

UCI: Unemployment Compensation Insurance

UFW: United Farm Workers

UGMA: Uniform Gifts to Minors Act

UIC: Unemployment Insurance Commission

UN: United Nations

USC: United States Code

USCIS: US Citizenship and Immigration Services

US DOJ: United States Department of Justice

US DOL: United States Department of Labor

USERRA: Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act


VA: Veterans Administration/Affairs

VETS: Veterans Employment and Training Service

VEVRA: Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Act

VOC-REHAB: Vocational Rehabilitation

VP: Vice President

VPN: Virtual Private Network

VSA: Voluntary System of Accountability


W-2: Income tax form issued by employers

W-4: Federal income tax withholding form

WARN: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

WC: Worker’s Compensation

WFA: Work from Anywhere

WFH: Work from Home

WFO: Work from Office

WIA: Workforce Investment Act of 1998

WIP: Work in Progress

WPS: Work Performance Standards

WRAEA: Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act

WTO: World Trade Organization

WTW: Welfare to Work


XML: Extensible Markup Language (Code)

XRA: Expected Retirement Age


YTD: Year to Date


ZBB: Zero-Based Budgeting

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.