Skip to page content
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
Bookmark and Share

DOL A to Z — Learn About the Labor Department


Give us your feedback

Learn about the Labor Department, break through the jargon and the acronyms and explore our work. To learn more about words and phrase not listed below you can visit the A to Z Index.

  • A

    Apprenticeship: We're not just talking about bakers and candlestick makers. Modern apprentices earn good pay while training for high-skill, high-demand 21st-century jobs.

  • B

    Black Lung: This preventable disease is caused by prolonged exposure to coal mine dust, and has killed or contributed to the deaths of more than 75,000 miners since 1968. Our mission is to end black lung. Forever.

  • C

    COBRA: Helps workers and families keep their health insurance after a life event when that coverage would otherwise have been terminated.

  • D

    Davis-Bacon Act: This law ensures that federal contractors promote good jobs and fair wages. For workers on federally funded or assisted construction projects, it guarantees pay no less than the local prevailing wage for similar work in the area.

  • E

    ERISA: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 protects workers, retirees and their families by setting standards for retirement, health and other employee benefit plans.

  • F

    FLSA: The Fair Labor Standards Act ensures minimum wage, overtime pay and child labor protections for more than 135 million workers across the United States.

  • G

    Gold Card: This resource offers post-9/11 era veterans enhanced employment services at our American Job Centers nationwide.

  • H

    H-Visas: Employers can use H-visas as a legal means of hiring temporary foreign workers with critical skills, while also protecting the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

  • I

    ILO: The United States is a member of the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency that promotes rights at work; quality employment; strong social protection programs; and productive dialogue among governments, employers and workers.

  • G

    Job Corps: Celebrating 50 years of success, Job Corps is the only residential education and training program in the nation, helping 2.7 million young people a year get the skills and credentials needed for a good job and bright future.

  • K

    K-Order: Following a serious mine incident, a "k-order" can be issued by federal mine safety officials allowing them to take necessary actions, including temporarily shutting down mines, to ensure the safety of all people at the mine.

  • L

    LM Forms: Required by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, these forms provide transparency for workers and the public on the financial transactions and labor relations activities of unions, employers and consultants.

  • M

    Multiemployer Plan: An employee benefit plan jointly run by employers and unions and funded through a collective bargaining agreement. These plans help small businesses lower costs and allow workers to keep their benefits as they move from one employer to another.

  • N

    NAICS: The North American Industry Classification System provides a standard for classifying businesses in over 1,100 industries, allowing greater precision in the collection and analysis of our economic enforcement data.

  • O

    OJT: On-the-job training is an effective way for workers to earn wages while learning the specific knowledge and skills needed to succeed at the job.

  • P

    Prevailing Wage: Based on the wages of workers within a particular occupation and geographic area, the prevailing wage promotes good jobs and ensures that workers on federal contracts and those on temporary foreign visas are paid fairly and do not disadvantage local workers.

  • Q

    QDRO: Often used as part of a divorce settlement, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order typically establishes a former spouse's right to receive a designated amount of his or her spouse's individual retirement account balance or pension benefit payment.

  • R

    Reasonable Accommodation: A change in the workplace conditions that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of a job or enjoy equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment.

  • S

    Silica: Found in the air in some workplaces, crystalline silica particles can cause lung cancer, silicosis and other serious diseases when inhaled. It kills hundreds and sickens thousands of workers every year.

  • T

    TAACCCT: Our $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training grant program helps community colleges prepare unemployed workers for well-paying, in-demand jobs through innovative partnerships with employers and the workforce system.

  • U

    USERRA: The Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act protects service members' civilian jobs while they perform military service, and prohibits employment discrimination based on past, present or intended service.

  • V

    VEVRAA: The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act prohibits employment discrimination against protected veterans and requires federal contractors to take active steps to employ them.

  • W

    WIOA: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is modernizing federal job-training programs and ensuring job seekers and employers have access to the employment, training and information services to keep them competitive in the 21st century economy.

  • X

    X-Ray: Our new rule allowing digital X-ray submissions under the Federal Black Lung Program expands access to medical tests and eases the burden on coal miners filing for the benefits they deserve.

  • Y

    YouthBuild: Helps at-risk youth get a high school diploma and gain skills and credentials that lead to careers in construction and other high-demand industries.

  • Z

    Zone Status: Refers to the financial health review of multiemployer plans required by the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Plans found to be in the endangered or critical zones require corrective actions to restore their financial health.