Benefits Orientation - Welcome
This interactive resource is designed to allow you to read about and sign up for Benefits and Services and research Informational Topics related to your State job.
- To begin, print the Employee Checklist which helps you track your progress
- Use the Index links in the top right column and the <Back to Index links at the end of each section for easy navigation
- Next, go to Step One: Essential Benefits and Services - This category is considered the highest priority for employees
- If you have any questions, please contact your supervisor or your department's Personnel Office
Step One: Read about and sign up for Essential Benefits and Services, and complete required forms:
1. Health Benefits
State health benefits are administered through the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). Employees are eligible for health benefits if they have a permanent appointment or a limited-term appointment of more than six months (at least six months plus one day); and a time base of half-time or more.
Permanent Intermittent employees are eligible for health benefits after working more than 480 hours during a six-month control period.
The State pays a portion of your premium, referred to as the Employer Contribution
. The amount you receive is negotiated through the collective bargaining process for (union) represented employees, and determined by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) for excluded employees
You have 60 calendar days from the date of your initial appointment to enroll in a health plan. Your coverage becomes effective the first day of the month following the date that your Personnel Office or Health Benefits Officer receives your completed enrollment form.
The cost to you will be the difference between the monthly premium of the plan you choose and the employer contribution. Your share of the premium is paid through pre-tax payroll deductions. You may enroll in any of the health plans offered by the State where you live or work.
If you have qualifying group health coverage through another source, such as your spouse, you may choose to receive cash in lieu of the State's health benefit. This additional cash is treated as taxable income.
You may enroll in the CoBen Cash Option
when you are hired, during the annual open enrollment period, or when you gain other qualifying group health coverage.
If you have questions on Health Benefits, contact your department's Personnel Office.
2. Dental Benefits
Employees who have a permanent or limited-term appointment lasting at least six months and a day and a time base of half time or more, are eligible for State-sponsored dental insurance from one of several plans.
Eligible employees can enroll within the first 60 days of employment eligibility, or during the annual open enrollment period. Voluntary changes in coverage are permitted during open enrollment or based on a permitting event outside of open enrollment.
If you are eligible for the State's indemnity plan, Delta Dental, the State will pay 75% of the monthly premium. If you enroll in a State prepaid dental plan, the State will pay 100% of the monthly premium.
Most newly hired rank and file employees are only eligible for a prepaid dental plan during the first 24 months of State service.
If you have questions on Dental Benefits and your eligibility, contact your department's Personnel Office.
3. Vision Benefits
Most State employees appointed to a permanent position that's half time or more and their dependents are automatically enrolled in the State's vision benefits.
The effective date of coverage is based on when your Personnel Office processes the Personnel Action Request (PAR) document, which is a transaction to record your appointment.
Please note that Permanent Intermittent Employees (PIE) must complete an enrollment form to enroll in vision benefits after working 480 hours in a specific control period.
If you have questions on Vision Benefits and your eligibility, contact your department's Personnel Office.
4. Consolidated Benefits (CoBen)
Rather than receiving three separate State contributions for medical, dental, and vision benefits, employees eligible for Consolidated Benefits (CoBen) receive a single monthly contribution to pay for all three benefits.
If the CoBen allowance exceeds the total cost of the medical, dental, and vision plans an eligible employee has chosen, the employee receives the excess amount as additional taxable income each month.
If the CoBen allowance is less than the total cost of the benefit plans the employee has chosen, the employee pays the difference through pre-tax payroll deductions.
All excluded employees (classified as managerial, supervisory, confidential, exempt) are under CoBen. For rank-and-file employees, CoBen eligibility is determined through the collective bargaining process.
Ask your Personnel Office or check your bargaining unit contract if you are unsure of your eligibility for CoBen. Currently, employees in Bargaining Units 2, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, and 19 are under CoBen.
Employees with medical and dental insurance through another source, such as a spouse or domestic partner, may elect to receive cash in lieu of enrollment in a State medical and dental benefit.
This additional cash is treated as taxable income. Enrollment in the cash option is permissive at the time of hire, during the annual open enrollment period, or based on a family status change. Enrollment in the cash option for dental only is not allowed.
If you have questions on CoBen or Cash Option, contact your department's Personnel Office.
5. FlexElect Medical and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts
Employees who pay out-of-pocket medical and dependent care expenses during the year may benefit from a FlexElect Reimbursement Account.
Most State employees are eligible. With a FlexElect Medical Reimbursement Account, you can use payroll deductions to pay for medical expenses that are not covered by your health, dental, or vision plan.
A FlexElect Dependent Care Reimbursement Account lets you use payroll deductions to pay for day care expenses for an eligible child or parent. When you enroll in a reimbursement account, you specify an amount to be deducted from your paychecks each month for a plan year. These monthly deductions are not counted as taxable income.
Your funds are held in the FlexElect Program Fund, which you use to reimburse yourself for covered expenses that you and eligible dependents incur during the plan year. In order to be reimbursed funds from your reimbursement account, you must submit a reimbursement account claim form by a specified deadline.
Employees with medical and dental insurance through another source, such as a spouse or domestic partner, may elect to receive cash in lieu of enrollment in a State medical and dental benefit. This additional cash is treated as taxable income.
Enrollment in the cash option is permissive at the time of hire, during the annual open enrollment period, or based on a family status change.
If you have questions on a FlexElect Reimbursement Account or Cash Option, contact your department's Personnel Office.
6. Medical Provider Network - Physician and Medical Facility Designation
In the event of an industrial injury or illness, State of California employees will receive treatment through the Medical Provider Network (MPN).
As an alternative, you may designate your regular primary care physician to treat you in the event of an industrial injury or illness by notifying your employer in writing before an injury or illness occurs. The physician you designate must meet specific criteria and agree ahead of time to treat you in the event of an industrial injury or illness.
If you have questions on the Medical Provider Network and Physician and Medical Facility Designation, contact your department's Personnel Office.
7. Beneficiary Designation - Death Benefits
Active and retired California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) members have death benefit coverage. Upon the death of a covered employee or retiree, their beneficiary may be eligible for a monthly allowance and/or a lump-sum payment of benefits.
It is recommended that employees and retirees have a current Beneficiary Designation form on file with CalPERS.
120-Day Death Benefits
Under the 120-day death benefit, departments are required to continue to pay the employer contributions for a covered employee's spouse, domestic partner and/or other eligible family members for up to 120 days following an employee's death.
The 120-day period is to provide the family a grace period while the CalPERS determines if the spouse or other family members are eligible for a survivor's benefit.
8. Military Service Declaration
Based on military service, you may qualify for certain benefits during your State of California career under the Military and Veterans Code. In order to determine if you qualify for benefits, please complete the Military Service Declaration form and give it to your department's Personnel Office.
9. Documents That May Be Requested By Your Department
There are certain documents to be completed by newly-hired employees, such as:
Obtain the following documents from your department's Personnel Office:
- Disability Questionnaire
- Electronic Communication and Software Policy User Consent Form (typically relates to computer use and communication)
- Emergency Contact Information Form
- Incompatible Activity Statement (forbidden activity)
- Nepotism Policy and Verification of Receipt
- Sexual Harassment Information Form
- Vehicle Safety Belt Use Certificate (if applicable)
For more information on these documents, contact your department's Personnel Office. There may be additional documents to be completed that are directly related to your job.
10. Employee Action Request (EAR)
New State employees are required to complete an Employee Action Request (EAR) form to provide mandatory information to their department. Current employees can use the form to update old information.
Some of the things you can do:
- Designate or change Federal or State tax allowances (withholdings)
- Provide or change your name
- Provide or change your address
- Provide or change your phone number
- Provide or correct your birth date
For more information on the Employee Action Request, contact your department's Personnel Office.
11. Oath of Allegiance
Every State employee, except legally employed non-citizens, must complete the Oath of Allegiance before entering the duties of State employment. Non-citizens are required to complete the portion of the form regarding Declaration of Permission to Work.
For more information on the Oath of Allegiance, contact your department's Personnel Office.
Step Two: Read about and sign up for Optional Benefits and Services, and complete required forms:
1. Savings Plus (401(k) and 457)
Savings Plus administers a 401(k) Plan and a 457 Plan. These plans are available to employees of the State of California or the California State University (CSU) who are eligible for membership in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the Legislators' Retirement System, or the Judges' Retirement System.
You can build a retirement savings account using automatic, pre-tax payroll deductions that you invest in investment options offered in the Savings Plus portfolio. You may elect to contribute pre-tax or Roth.
2. ScholarShare College Savings Plan
Investing in your children's future is important. The ScholarShare College Savings Plan gives Californians the opportunity to save for college expenses by putting money in tax-advantaged investments.
The program allows members to deposit after-tax contributions, which allow earnings to grow tax-deferred. Disbursements, when used for tuition and other qualified expenses, are federal and state tax-free.
3. Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit is a convenient method to automatically deposit your net earnings into the financial institution of your choice. Once you enroll, all of your paychecks are transferred to your financial institution.
This includes regular pay and supplemental pay, such as overtime.
Each State department has the option of establishing its own eligibility requirements. For example, departments' may elect to establish a minimum leave balance criteria to ensure that participant absences can be covered with compensable time.
You are eligible to sign up for direct deposit after you have worked for the State for 6 months.
Please contact your Personnel Payroll Office to determine your eligibility or if you have additional questions.
4. Pre-Tax Parking
Employees may elect to participate in this voluntary program that allows for the withdrawal of a specific dollar amount for work-related parking fees from their pay warrant. The transaction occurs prior to tax deductions, resulting in a reduced taxable income.
There are three types of Pre-Tax Parking Programs:
- Department of General Services
- Office of Fleet Administration; department-sponsored
- Third Party Reimbursement.
If you have questions on Pre-Tax Parking or wish to determine which program fits your specific needs, contact your department's Personnel Office.
5. Annual Leave
Employees have a choice of either the traditional sick/vacation or annual leave. Annual leave allows for the replacement of traditional vacation and sick leave credits with more versatile leave credits.
In addition, the program provides an improved Non-Industrial Disability Insurance (NDI) benefit to 50% income replacement with the option of replacing 75% or 100% of income by supplementation of earned leave credits for certain employees.
Please review your collective bargaining agreement for other benefits offered under this program (Also review vacation leave). Excluded employees should refer to the "Compensation Plus" publication (available at your department's Personnel Office).
If you have questions on the Annual Leave Program, contact your department's Personnel Office.
6. Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance
Excluded State employees
may enroll in Long Term Disability Insurance, which provides income replacement in the event you become disabled due to an illness or injury and cannot perform your normal job duties for six months or longer.
This benefit is available to permanent employees appointed to managerial, supervisory, confidential, and other excluded positions with a time base of half time or more. Newly eligible employees have a 60-day period in which to enroll. Open enrollment period is also held every 18 - 24 months.
If you have questions on Long Term Disability Insurance and your qualifications, contact your department's Personnel Office.
7. Long Term Care (Continuous Enrollment)
You and your eligible family members (i.e., spouses, parents, parents-in-law, adult children, and adult siblings between the ages of 18 and 79) may join in the Long-Term Care (LTC). The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) operates the program for coverage that may be needed due to a chronic illness, frailty of old age, or a serious accident. Care may be provided at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.
The CalPERS LTC is now accepting applications for long-term care coverage and premiums are based on a person's age when first enrolled.
All State employees, retirees, and their eligible family members can enroll in the CalPERS LTC. To learn more about CalPERS LTC coverage options and to download or request an application kit, visit the program website or speak to a program representative at 1-(800) 908-9119.
8. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (Cobra)
Under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), employees and dependents that lose their health, dental, or vision coverage due to certain "qualifying events" are allowed to continue their coverage for a specified period of time.
The cost to the enrollee is 102% of the applicable group premium rate. Benefits provided under COBRA are the same as those provided under the State-sponsored plans.
9. Group Legal Services Insurance Plan
The Group Legal Services Plan is a voluntary, employee-paid plan that provides you with comprehensive legal coverage.
Employees who meet the following criteria are eligible to participate in the Plan: Permanent or probationary with a time base of half-time or more, who are designated rank and file, managerial, supervisory, confidential, and excluded/exempt are eligible to enroll.
Permanent-Intermittent employees who are credited with a minimum of 480 paid hours each six month qualifying control period (ending June 30 or December 31) are also eligible. Departments are responsible for providing new employees with the informational packet. Newly eligible employees have 60-calendar days from the date of hire or time base change to enroll in the plan.
A variety of legal services are available, such as will preparation, legal consultation and representation for domestic matters, defense of civil actions, criminal misdemeanors and traffic charges, bankruptcy proceedings and review and preparation of documents.
Plan members can access services by contacting ARAG's Customer Care Center toll-free 866-762-0972, or TTY (800) 383-4184 or 711 to reach a relay operator (Monday - Friday, 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.)
10. Address Protection - Safe at Home
The Secretary of State's Office implemented the California Confidential Address Program (CalCAP). CalCAP is a no cost mail forwarding service designed to provide address protection for victims of domestic violence.
If you would like to speak to a representative regarding CalCAP, you may contact the Secretary of State at (916) 653-1769.
11. Home Address Request for Non-Disclosure
An employee may request that his or her home address not be disclosed to specified individuals or organizations. Simply complete the form and give it to your Personnel Office.
12. Designation of Person to Receive Warrants
State employees may designate a person authorized to receive all warrants (paychecks) upon their death that would have been payable to the deceased employee. It is important to update this information whenever the designee's address changes.
For more information on this process, contact your department's Personnel Office.
13. Employment and Salary Verification
The State of California provides a 24-hour service to verify State employment and salary for employees through "The Work Number".
The Work Number® is the largest provider of automated employment and income verifications in the U.S. Over 1,000 employers contract with The Work Number to provide verifications, including well over half of the Fortune 500.
The service allows employees to provide proof of their employment or income to requesting entities anytime of the day; every day of the year; and benefit from increased efficiency, as well as, the elimination of cumbersome paperwork.
If you have questions, call 1-800-EMP-AUTH (1-800-367-2884) or contact your department's Personnel Office.
14. Variable Work Schedule
A variable work schedule (also known as Alternate Work Schedule) is an alternative to the regular 5-day, 40-hour workweek, and may be offered at each department's discretion.
A variable work schedule does not change the number of hours worked, but simply gives employees and State departments flexibility to better meet their needs.
There are a few common variable work schedules:
- The 4/10/40 schedule allows employees to work the required 40-hour workweek in four 10-hour days
- The 9/8/80 schedule allows employees to work eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day in a two-week period with one day off every other week
- Telecommuting (also known as Teleworking) allows an employee, under certain circumstances, to complete their job duties from home - The State encourages the use of telecommuting as an option where management finds that it serves a practical benefit to the agency, such as reducing office-related expenses
It is important to note that Variable Work Schedules are not available at every State department or unit. They are a privilege given based on management policy taking into account overall operational needs.
For more information on Variable Work Schedules, contact your supervisor or your department's Personnel Office.
15. Authorization to Use Privately-Owned Vehicle on State Business
When you are hired for some specific jobs, it may be required or otherwise an advantage to use your own vehicle for work purposes. In general, use of your private vehicle is permitted to conduct State business.
A form must be completed to comply with State Policy (S.A.M. 0753 and 0754) when approval is requested to use privately-owned vehicles to conduct official State business.
16. Voluntary Personal Leave Program
Certain State departments offer the Voluntary Personal Leave Program (VPLP). This allows employees to continue working their assigned work schedule and receive a pay reduction equal to either one day (8 hours) or two days (16 hours) per month.
Participants will be credited with an equal amount of hours to use in the same manner as vacation or annual leave. It is an innovative way departments can provide additional time off to employees.
Please note: This benefit and its availability is based on specific Bargaining Unit contracts. To find out if you are eligible or if you want more information on the Voluntary Personal Leave Program, contact your department's Personnel Office.
Step Three: Read about Automatic Benefits and Services:
Most State employees are paid monthly for 12 pay periods. Pay day for full-time and part-time employees is usually the last day of the month or the first day of the next month. Intermittent employees are typically paid within ten working days after the end of the pay period.
2. CalPERS Retirement
State employee pensions are administered by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). Most full-time employees, hired to work more than six months, are automatically members of CalPERS.
Your pension is based on years of service in the CalPERS system, your salary, and the formula that applies to your retirement category. Different types of State jobs belong in different categories such as Miscellaneous, Safety, Patrol, and Peace Officer/Firefighter.
Please note: Certain newly hired State Employees are automatically placed in the Alternate Retirement Program
(ARP) for the first 24 months of State service.
CalPERS members also are eligible for disability retirement benefits, and their survivors are also eligible for benefits. If you have questions on what retirement benefits are applicable to you, contact your department's Personnel Office.
3. Alternate Retirement Program (ARP)
The Alternate Retirement Program is a retirement savings program that certain State employees are automatically enrolled in for two years from their initial hire date of employment with the State of California.
It's an "alternate" retirement program because it provides two years of retirement savings in lieu of two years of retirement service credit under CalPERS. Even though you don't earn retirement service credit with CalPERS during this period, you're still a CalPERS member.
The Alternate Retirement Program is administered by Savings Plus.
4. Part-Time, Seasonal, and Temporary Employees Retirement Program
The Part-Time, Seasonal, and Temporary (PST) Employees Retirement Program is a mandatory retirement savings program authorized by Federal law for employees who aren't covered by a retirement system.
State or CSU employees who aren't covered by Social Security and excluded from coverage under CalPERS are automatically enrolled in the PST Program. This program is set up as a 457 Plan, a type of retirement savings plan governed by IRS rules.
The Part-Time, Seasonal, and Temporary Employees Retirement Program is administered by Savings Plus.
5. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential short-term counseling and referral services to employees and their families to help resolve personal issues that can affect job performance.
These issues may include financial, legal, and psychological problems; child and elder care; family and marital issues; and alcohol and drug abuse. The program is also available to help supervisors refer an employee to EAP.
6. Sick Leave
Your sick leave is credited on the first day of each month following completion of a qualifying pay period. (A "qualifying" pay period for full-time employees is at least 11 work days; for half-time employees it's 5.5 work days; and for permanent intermittent employees it's 160 hours).
The number of sick leave hours you accumulate depends on your time base and your bargaining unit agreement. You can accumulate unlimited sick leave hours.
You may begin to use sick leave for approved absences once its been earned and are encouraged to build a substantial reserve of sick leave to protect yourself and your family from loss of income due to a lengthy illness or injury.
Please refer to Step Two Optional Benefits and Services Annual Leave. You may elect to enroll in Annual Leave instead of Sick Leave. Annual Leave offers benefits that may be more appropriate to your needs.
Keep in mind, each department may have internal policies regarding this subject. If you have questions on Sick Leave and Annual Leave, contact your department's Personnel Office.
7. Family Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) entitle eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave each year except when the FMLA leave is to care for a spouse, child, parent, or next-of-kin who is seriously injured/ill while on active military duty. In this case, the maximum is 26 weeks each year for specified family and medical reasons:
1. The birth of a child and to care for the newborn;
2. The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
3. To care for a family member (employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent) with a serious health condition; and/or
4. A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job;
5. For a spouse, child or parent who has been called to active duty or is already on active duty; and/or
6. To care for a spouse, child, parent, or next-of-kin who is seriously injured/ill while on active military duty.
FMLA/CFRA leave may be taken all at once or, when medically necessary, in increments of one hour or more that total twelve (12) or twenty-six (26) workweeks.
When a leave is taken for a medical or other FMLA/CFRA-related appointment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the appointment at a time that minimizes disruption to the Department's operations.
If you have questions on Family Medical Leave, contact your department's Personnel Office.
8. Bereavement Leave
You are allowed paid time off if a member of your family dies. As with any other paid leave, you must consult your supervisor for specific information regarding qualifying relationships and the amount of time available.
If you have questions on Bereavement Leave, contact your supervisor or Personnel Office.
9. Catastrophic Leave
The Catastrophic Leave Program allows an employee to transfer eligible leave credits, such as unused vacation, personal holiday credit, annual leave, or official compensating time off to another employee when a catastrophic illness or injury occurs.
A catastrophic illness or injury is an illness or injury that is expected to incapacitate an employee or qualifying family member and creates a financial hardship because the employee has or will exhaust all of his or her leave credits as a result of the injury or illness.
Additionally, if an employee is unable to work because of a natural disaster involving the employee's principal residence, eligible leave can be transferred. Some collective bargaining agreements allow transfer of leave credits between family members under certain circumstances.
If you have questions about Catastrophic Leave or additional leave options, which may be available based on your bargaining unit, contact your department's Personnel Office.
10. Vacation Leave
At the beginning of every new pay period, you will be credited with the vacation hours you earned for the previous qualifying pay period. The number of hours you earn depends on your time base, bargaining unit agreement, and length of State employment.
You can use accrued vacation credit after completing your first 6 months of State service. You will continue to accumulate vacation hours for each qualifying month of work. Vacation time may be used with your supervisor's prior approval.
If you have questions on Vacation Leave, contact your department's Personnel Office.
11. Leave of Absence
An employee can request an unpaid Leave of Absence of up to one year, which may be granted in certain situations. If you anticipate the need for a leave of absence, you must prepare a formal request.
When you return from an unpaid leave of absence, you may not always go back to the exact job you left, but you will be placed in the same classification or, if you and your department agree, a similar position for which you are eligible.
For more information on Leave of Absence, contact your department's Personnel Office.
12. Military Leave
California State employees called to active military duty may be paid their regular State salary for up to 30 days of duty per year, if they meet certain requirements.
In addition, the State will pay the difference between the employee's State salary and military salary (if the State salary is higher) for up to six months for specified military campaigns.
If the employee is called to active duty after Sept. 11, 2001, as a result of the War on Terrorism, the State will pay the difference between the State salary and military salary for up to two years.
Unpaid Spousal - Military Leave
If your spouse is in the military you may be eligible for ten (10) days of unpaid leave when your spouse is on a leave from military duty during a break in the deployment or during a mid-tour leave or end of tour leave.
If you have questions on Military Leave, contact your department's Personnel Office.
13. State Holidays and Personal Holiday
State employees observe the following paid holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
If you are required to work on a holiday, you will be compensated in accordance with your collective bargaining agreement and/or State regulations.
You become eligible for a personal holiday once you complete six months of State employment. After that, personal holidays are credited on the first day of July and may be used any time during the following 12 months, subject to your supervisor's approval.
Employees who work less than full time also may be eligible for personal holiday credit; the number of hours is prorated based on the employee's time base.
For more information on State holidays and personal holidays, contact your department's Personnel Office.
14. Workers' Compensation - Industrial Disability Leave (IDL)
Workers' Compensation is a benefit provided to you if you are injured on the job or become ill due to your job. Workers' Compensation is separate from personal health insurance. There is no deductible for Workers' Compensation; all approved medical bills will be paid.
If you are injured or become ill as a direct result of your job, report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. In the event of an employee's death caused by an injury covered by Workers' Compensation, the employee's qualified surviving dependent(s) would be eligible for death-related benefits.
If you have questions on Workers' Compensation, contact your department's Personnel Office.
15. Non-Industrial Disability Insurance (NDI)
Non-Industrial Disability Insurance (NDI) is a wage continuation program that provides benefits if you are unable to work due to a non-work-related injury or illness. NDI is processed through all State agencies and by the Employment Development Department (EDD).
For more information on this program, contact your department's Personnel Office.
16. State Disability Insurance
Certain employees represented by SEIU, Local 1000 are eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI) Benefits, which are funded by payroll deduction.
State Disability Insurance replaces a portion of your wages if you cannot work because of a non-work-related illness or injury. Family leave benefits are included as well.
If you have questions on State Disability Insurance and if you qualify, contact your department's Personnel Office.
17. Basic Group Term Life Insurance (Excluded Employees Only)
The Basic Group Term Life Insurance is a State-paid benefit provided for managerial, supervisory, confidential, and other specified excluded employees.
When an employee moves into an eligible classification, enrollment is automatic. Once the deduction code is established, the carrier (MetLife) will mail a packet of information to each newly enrolled employee.
The coverage is $25,000 for Confidential/Supervisory and $50,000 for Managerial employees. Supplemental Life coverage is available at the employee's expense.
18. Travel and Accident Insurance (Excluded Employees Only)
Managerial, supervisory, confidential, and other excluded employees
are automatically covered by Common Carrier Travel and Accident Insurance.
A benefit up to $150,000 is paid to an insured employee required to travel on State business away from the work premises where he or she is permanently assigned. Any loss incurred by the insured employee during the business trip is covered.
If you have questions on Travel and Accident Insurance, contact your department's Personnel Office.
19. Jury Duty
If you are requested for Jury Duty, your service results in no loss in pay as long as you give the State any money received from the court. You are not required to submit any payment you may have gotten for travel expenses.
Notify your supervisor to discuss your work schedule if you are called for Jury Duty.
Step Four: Read about Informational Topics:
1. California State Government
California State Government is divided into three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The State Constitution separates the functions of each branch.
The Executive Branch
The executive branch consists of the agencies, departments, boards, and commissions that serve the people of the State of California. The administration of this branch is conducted by elected officials: the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, and Chair of the Board of Equalization.
The Legislative Branch
The legislative branch is composed of two houses: the Senate and the Assembly. There are 40 Senators and 80 Assembly Members.
The Judicial Branch
The judicial branch consists of the State Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and Trial Courts (Superior Courts).
The State Constitution and the Government Code
The State Constitution and the Government Code establish civil service procedures. The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) enacts regulations based on these Constitutional and statutory authorizations. In addition, policies are established in the collective bargaining agreements.
The State Constitution
The State Constitution provides for a State Personnel Board appointed by the Governor to administer the civil service system. CalHR is responsible for ensuring that civil service, permanent appointments, and promotions are based on merit and competitive exams.
CalHR manages the non-merit aspects of the State's personnel system such as collective bargaining, labor relations, administration of salary and benefits, hours and working conditions, training, performance evaluations, layoffs, and grievances.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Collective bargaining agreements, also called Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), between employee organizations (unions) and the State define wages, hours, and conditions of employment affecting employees who are assigned to one of the State's 21 bargaining units.
Each unit is made up of employees performing similar or related duties with a community of interest in wages, hours, and working conditions. Bargaining units elect an employee organization, which has exclusive rights to represent employees in that unit in bargaining with the State or during an adverse action.
Employees designated managerial, supervisory, confidential, or other excluded designations are not covered by collective bargaining agreements. CalHR is responsible for defining wages, hours, and conditions of employment for these employees.
2. State Policies
The State of California adheres to a number of laws and policies, summarized below, that are designed to promote a safe, comfortable, and professional work environment for all employees. For details of these laws and policies, contact your Personnel Office.
This section contains information about:
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Drug Testing
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Family Medical Leave
- Reasonable Accommodation
- Sexual Harassment
Americans with Disabilities Act
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects permanently disabled employees and job applicants from discrimination based on their disabilities.
The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to apply for and perform their job.
California's Fair Employment and Housing Act provides civil rights protections similar to, and in some cases broader than, the ADA.
The State enforces a drug-free workplace policy, including drug testing for employees in sensitive positions. Some state agencies also are required to meet federal drug and alcohol testing requirements for commercial drivers. Newly hired and excluded correctional employees are subject to random drug testing.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The State is an equal opportunity employer. It is the policy of the State that its workforce must be representative of California's diverse population. All efforts to ensure a representative workforce are consistent with State civil service and merit system principles and regulations.
All State employees are entitled to a work environment free of discrimination based on race, color, age, religion, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.
It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a discrimination complaint or participating in the complaint process. For information concerning the complaint process, contact your departmental EEO/AA Officer or your Personnel Officer.
Family Medical Leave
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the California Family Rights Act entitle eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for specified family and medical reasons.
Pregnant employees are allowed to continue to work as long as the employee's health and the health of the unborn baby are not adversely affected. The employee must be able to adequately perform essential job duties in a safe manner.
An employee who is disabled because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition is entitled to take a pregnancy disability leave for up to four months.
The State will make reasonable accommodations to adjust the application process, job, and/or work environment to permit qualified persons with disabilities to apply for and/or continue State employment.
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Government Code.
Sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures, regardless of whether they are written, verbal, physical, and/or visual.
If you believe you have been harassed or you feel threatened, you should seek assistance from your supervisor or Equal Employment Opportunity Officer/Counselor.
All State agencies provide a smoke-free work environment for employees. "Smoke breaks" usually are permitted at the discretion of the supervisor in lieu of the time regularly allotted for breaks and rest periods.
Your department will have a designated area (usually located outside the building) where smoking is permitted.
The State encourages the use of telecommuting as a work option where management finds it serves a practical benefit to the agency.
If your agency or department allows telecommuting and you are interested in this work option, check with your supervisor for more details.
To ensure a safe environment for employees and the public, State offices are required to have a Workplace Violence Prevention Program. Acts or threats of violence, harassment, intimidation, or other disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.
Such behavior should be reported to a supervisor or other appropriate personnel immediately. Employees committing such acts are subject to disciplinary action, which may include termination, and/or criminal penalties.
3. Employee Responsibilities
The following section summarizes your responsibilities as a State employee:
You are responsible for arriving at and leaving work at the times agreed upon by your supervisor, including returning on time after lunch and break periods.
If you are unable to report to work, notify your supervisor at the beginning of your usual workday, or as soon as possible.
If you are absent from work for more than five days without notifying your office, you may be discharged from State service for being absent without official leave (AWOL).
Be sure you understand your work schedule and ask your supervisor if you have questions. Some agencies offer flexible work hours.
You are expected to behave courteously and responsibly at all times. Remember that the image of an organization rests upon the behavior of the employees who represent it.
You represent the State of California. It is important for you to make a positive impression on those you serve and your coworkers.
Your dress and appearance should be appropriate for the type of work you do. Your supervisor will let you know if there are any special dress requirements.
You are prohibited from using State facilities, equipment, or work time to conduct personal business. Your agency/department will provide you with a copy of its guidelines regarding incompatible activities; you must abide by these guidelines. In addition, some employees are required to file financial disclosure statements, depending on their position.
You are prohibited from using drugs (other than medication prescribed by your physician). Drinking alcohol, being intoxicated, or having open containers of alcoholic beverages of any kind on State premises, or while conducting State business, also is prohibited.
You may not display any sign, slogan, pin, or other item containing words or symbols offensive or insulting to any group or individual, nor of a partisan political nature.
You may not participate in political activity that involves the use of any State resource, which includes State property, funds, equipment, supplies, phones, computers, vehicles, travel, and work time. Serving as a precinct board member does not constitute political activity in this context.
If you are considering any political activities, first check with your supervisor regarding activities prohibited by the California Government Code or your collective bargaining agreement. Infractions in any of these areas could result in actions ranging from an informal reprimand to dismissal.
Each department makes every effort to provide a safe and healthy work environment. It is your responsibility to perform your assignment and operate equipment safely. If during the course of your work you notice a situation that may endanger someone's health or safety, notify your supervisor immediately. Safety is everyone's responsibility.
If you are required to drive a vehicle on official State business, you must have a valid driver's license appropriate to the type of vehicle(s) you operate. You will be expected to attend and successfully complete an approved defensive driver training course at least every four years. In addition, all employees who drive or are passengers in any vehicle used in the conduct of State business are required to wear seat belts.
4. Your Rights
You have the right to participate in employee organization activities on your own time. Your "own time," or "non-working" hours, includes lunch periods and time before and after work, excluding breaks.
You may not be discriminated against, granted preferential treatment, or have reprisal taken against you because of membership (or non-membership) or lawful involvement in an employee organization or its activities.
Once you are a permanent State employee, your work will be evaluated by your immediate supervisor. You and your supervisor will participate in the regular employee appraisal process throughout your career. This gives you and your supervisor an opportunity to discuss your job performance and career development.
Your Official Personnel File contains records relating to your employment. In many offices, supervisors keep an unofficial personnel folder containing many of the same items. You have the right to review the contents of both folders and to request copies.
There may be a nominal fee charged for duplication.
Confidential or restricted information contained in the Official Personnel File may be disclosed only to persons authorized by law and departmental policy to receive such information for official purposes.
You will be on probation for the first 6, 9, or 12 months of your job. The length of your probation depends on your particular job and time base.
Your job description/duty statement describes your responsibilities and the standards for accomplishing the specific tasks or set of duties.
During your probationary period, your work will be evaluated by your supervisor, who will prepare at least three reports covering your work performance, personal conduct, and ability to handle responsibility measured against the standards of the position.
Your overall performance will be reviewed and your supervisor will discuss any areas that may need improvement.
You will gain permanent status if you meet the required level of performance by the end of your probationary period.
If you are unsuccessful learning the job or meeting the performance standards during the probationary period, you may not pass your probation. If you have permanent civil service status in another State job classification, you have the right of return to that classification.
If you are rejected on probation, you have the right to appeal within 15 days of the effective date of rejection. The appeal must be filed in writing to the State Personnel Board, which is part of the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR).
5. Career Development
The following section summarizes exam opportunities, training, upward mobility, and career development:
Exams and Interviews
You are permitted reasonable time off with pay to take State civil service exams that are scheduled during working hours, provided you notify your supervisor in advance. You may be permitted time off with pay to attend a State job interview for which you have been called as a result of your eligibility on employment lists.
You will be given the training necessary to do your job. Attendance at and reimbursement for transportation to required formal training will be fully paid by the State. You may be eligible for other types of training that will enhance your job skills or prepare you for career growth.
There are a number of classes sponsored by the State that are available to you. If you are interested in participating in training opportunities, discuss it with your supervisor.
Upward Mobility and Career Development
Employees are encouraged to plan a program of individual career development. Many departments have programs to promote career opportunities.
Additional information about upward mobility is available from your supervisor, your training coordinator, and the California Department of Human Resources.
6. Excluded Employees
Excluded Employees are employees who do not have collective bargaining rights under the Ralph C. Dills Act (Dills Act). In general, we designate these employees managerial, confidential, and supervisory.
Some State departments are excluded, such as the California Department of Human Resources, the Public Employment Relations Board, and certain employees of the State Controller's Office, the State Athletic Commission, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Industrial Relations.
Excluded employees cannot:
- (Except for supervisors), hold office in an employee organization that represents rank and file employees (union)
- Handle grievances on behalf of rank and file employees
- Represent rank and file employees during bargaining
- Vote on ratifying rank and file collective bargaining agreements
Please contact your department's Personnel Office for information regarding your employee status.
7. Bargaining Units
There are 21 bargaining units for the State's rank-and-file employees. The following list of these units includes a brief description of the classes of employees in each unit.
Bargaining Unit 1
Administrative, Financial, and Staff Services: Employees performing administrative, fiscal, and analytical functions such as accounting, planning, personnel, data processing, research, and analysis.
Bargaining Unit 2
Attorney and Administrative Law Judges: Employees practicing law for the State or exercising quasi-judicial job duties within administrative hearings.
Bargaining Unit 3
Professional Educators and Librarians: Employees providing educational services in departments with institutional work settings.
Bargaining Unit 4
Office and Allied: Employees providing vital support to the primary professional, technical, or administrative objectives of each State department or agency.
Bargaining Unit 5
Highway Patrol: Employees providing safe and lawful vehicular movement over highways.
Bargaining Unit 6
Corrections: Employees providing custody, supervision, and treatment of wards and inmates remanded to State custody.
Bargaining Unit 7
Protective Services and Public Safety: Employees protecting State lands and buildings, furnishing emergency services, issuing licenses or permits, arresting individuals violating penal or administrative laws, and protecting the public from fraudulent practices and schemes.
Bargaining Unit 8
Firefighter: Employees fighting structural and forest fires.
Bargaining Unit 9
Professional Engineer: Employees providing engineering, design, research, and related analytical information regarding structures such as highways, bridges, dams, and water treatment plants.
Bargaining Unit 10
Professional Scientific: Employees engaged in scientific research, testing, design, and analysis in life, earth, and environmental sciences.
Bargaining Unit 11
Engineering and Scientific Technicians: Employees utilizing scientific instruments and technology to gather and record data.
Bargaining Unit 12
Craft and Maintenance: Employees operating and maintaining State equipment, facilities, buildings, grounds, and roads.
Bargaining Unit 13
Stationary Engineer: Employees maintaining and operating power generation facilities that heat, ventilate, and air condition large office buildings and other State facilities.
Bargaining Unit 14
Printing Trades: Employees preparing, composing, and printing material for State agencies.
Bargaining Unit 15
Allied Services: Employees providing custodial, food, laundry, and other basic services to maintain a proper physical environment for State facilities.
Bargaining Unit 16
Physician, Dentist and Podiatrist: Employees comprised of medical staff responsible for diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of patients within State institutions.
Bargaining Unit 17
Registered Nurses: Employees involved in educational, preventive and treatment programs associated with State health care.
Bargaining Unit 18
Psychiatric Technicians: Employees providing psychiatric care for mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients in State-operated facilities.
Bargaining Unit 19
Health and Social Services/Professional: Employees providing evaluations and assessment of client counseling and consultation or client follow-up service of a health, social, or employment nature.
Bargaining Unit 20
Medical and Social Services Support: Employees providing direct and indirect health care and social service support to inmates and other recipients of State social service programs.
Bargaining Unit 21
Education, Consultants, and Librarians: Employees in departments with non-institutional work settings providing education, consulting, and library services.
The State of California offers unique and distinctive awards for ideas, employee excellence, career accomplishments, and for going above and beyond the call of duty.
This informational page gives you a taste of what you may be in store for during your State career.
- The Employee Suggestion Program is designed to recognize State employees who use their ideas and creative thinking to reduce operating costs, improve procedures, and eliminate hazards among other things - The reward could mean cash in your pocket
- Superior Accomplishment Awards are given at two levels: One award is for performance resulting in exceptional contribution to improving State government; another award is for Sustained Superior Accomplishment over a two year period - The Merit Award Program is responsible for the administration of these awards, which are used for recognizing teams as well as individuals
- 25-Year Service and Retirement Awards were established by the Legislature to recognize employees who have completed 25 or more years of State service or are retiring after at least 25 years
The Medal of Valor
is the highest honor the State can bestow upon its employees and is awarded to individuals who have performed an extraordinary act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty to save the life of another person, have risked their own lives to save someone or have saved State property from damage or destruction - Although honorees typically include law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and lifeguards, the award also has been given to State employees who did not work in hazardous positions but found themselves in situations where they risked their life to render assistance to someone in danger
California WorksWell provides health promotion information, resources, and direction to State agencies to help them develop programs that promote healthy lifestyles for their employees and their families.
Volunteer Health Promotion Coordinators, working within each State agency, provide the programs and activities conducted at their work sites. If you have questions, contact your supervisor or Health Promotion Coordinator.
10. Travel and Per Diem
Employees who are required to travel as part of their work assignment will receive reimbursement for appropriate expenses. In some cases, employees may request an advance on the expenses they expect to incur.
There are very specific rules and regulations regarding travel and reimbursement amounts. Ask your supervisor for details on authorizations, expense limits, travel advances, and reservation procedures if you are scheduled to travel.
You may also get more information on Travel and Per Diem from your department's Personnel Office.
Employees who are required to relocate as part of their work assignment may receive reimbursement for appropriate expenses. Relocation may apply to newly hired employees as well as current State employees.
There are very specific rules regarding the reimbursement of expenses associated with a State-approved relocation. You may contact your department's Personnel Office for information regarding relocation authorizations, expense limits, and allowances.
12. Partial Service Retirement
Partial Service Retirement is a State program with the goal of retaining seasoned employees who otherwise had planned to retire completely.
There are advantages of a partial service retirement such as enjoying reduced work hours while earning a paycheck and receiving a partial retirement allowance at the same time.
Applications for this benefit must be approved by the affected State employer. For more information on Partial Service Retirement, contact your department's Personnel Office.
13. Retiree Vision Program
Retired employees can elect to participate in the Retiree Vision Program. This program is a voluntary benefit and the premium will be fully paid by enrolled retirees with a monthly deduction from their retirement check.
14. State-Owned Housing
Some State of California departments provide housing accommodations to certain employees. Each State agency that provides housing for employees has the authority and responsibility to establish and adjust rental rates, maintain housing in good condition, and dispose of any housing that cannot be economically maintained.
For more information on State owned Housing, contact your department's Personnel Office.
Thank you for participating in the Benefits Orientation.