base period

a period of time used as a standard of comparison in measuring changes in prices, taxes, income, etc., at other periods of time. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
base period
statistics a neutral period used as a standard for comparison in constructing an index to express a variable factor: 100 is usually taken as the index number for the variable in the base period

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
The claim was denied because she did not have sufficient base period wages to
  establish a new benefit year.
The only eligible individual dies or becomes ineligible before the end of the
  base period.
The base period is the four quarters of earnings that are used to determine how
  much unemployment you qualify for.
Only school wages are in the base period of the claim.
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