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​March 19, 2020

State Takes Extra Steps to Protect Employees, Keep Operations Running Smoothly

Plans include using telework widely, instilling safe distances in offices

SACRAMENTO, CA – California’s Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has issued directives to departments on how to manage the state workforce to keep employees safe while continuing to provide Californians critical support and services.

The state is focused on long-term planning to ensure critical state operations continue and to protect the health of state employees over the entire length of this crisis. CalHR issued a memo to state departments with clear directives and, separately, a letter to all state employees informing them of the plans and providing other information and resources.

Departments should be mindful of recommendations made by state and local health officials and develop plans accordingly, the memo said. Departments should make sure offices have safe social distances among employees who continue to work there and allow many to work from home, using telework for as many employees as possible, with priority given to employees who are 65 and older or have chronic health conditions.

Other employees could be shifted to different duties or if not, as a last resort, provided with Administrative Time Off (ATO).

“As the COVID-19 emergency continues to evolve, we need to shift from the immediate response guidance that has been provided previously to longer-term planning for how to keep our workforce safe and healthy so our work can continue,” the memo said.

“Effective immediately departments should establish a staff management plan that allows for effective social distancing for those in the office, takes into consideration stay-at-home directives from state and local public health departments, and protects the health of employees over the entire length of this crisis.”

Departments are to develop plans to rotate staff who work in the office and in turn stay home teleworking. Departments must also submit daily absenteeism reports.

In a letter to state employees, CalHR Director Eraina Ortega acknowledged that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a big challenge for workers and their families. She thanked state employees for their dedication and their commitment to limiting the spread of COVID-19, and she advised them to access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if they need greater support and assistance. 

“We are so proud of your commitment to continue to balance your job duties with your family responsibilities during this difficult time,” the letter said. “We are here to support you as the needs of the state change in the coming weeks and months.”

CalHR has been issuing guidance to departments since the outbreak first became a state concern in January.

The state continues to monitor the latest developments and will make adjustments and issue further guidance, as changing conditions merit.

Read the memo to departments and the letter to state workers on CalHR’s COVID-19 information page for state employees.  



 October 15, 2019

Event Highlights Donations to Feed Hungry Earned by State Workers

Oct. 22 Ceremony to Celebrate 7,595 Meal Donations for Food Banks

– State workers who participate in Healthier U Connections, an online wellness service managed by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) that encourages exercise and healthy living, have earned 7,595 meal donations for the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB).

The donations will be recognized at a ceremony to be held Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the Department of Health Care Services Auditorium, 1500 Capitol Mall, Sacramento.

StayWell, the vendor that the State of California contracts with to provide the online service, will give CAFB a check for $15,420.78 for the cost of the meals.

Meal donations are earned by State of California employees actively participating in Healthier U Connections. One donation is earned upon registration for the platform, and up to three additional can be earned throughout the year when participants hit certain healthy milestones. The donations are paid for by the Healthier U Connections vendor StayWell.

“A big thank you is in order to state employees, for earning these meal donations, and to StayWell, for making them," said Eraina Ortega, Director of CalHR. “This is an outstanding program that gives state workers incentives for getting healthier that also, in turn, benefit the community. I look forward to seeing participation in Healthier U Connections – and food bank meal donations – continue to grow each year."

“Creating a supportive environment where employees participate in fun fitness programs, make healthier choices, and improve their own health awareness is key to supporting long-term well-being," said StayWell CEO Nicole Latimer. “StayWell is proud to support the Healthier U Connections' program, helping to bring these elements together to enhance the lives of state employees and support its commitment to the local community through the donation of meals."

"We're grateful to the State of California and to StayWell for your support — and, in turn, supporting many hungry members throughout our California community. Right now, more than 4 million Californians face hunger. We must continue to work together to reduce that number to zero," said, Kathleen Odne, Interim Executive Director for California Association of Food Banks. "CAFB is proud to be a part of the Healthier U Connections program because we believe that nutrition is fundamental to the health and well-being of each and every community member."

Healthier U Connections, launched in 2017, is an innovative, online wellness service that allows state employees to continually track health behaviors and access wellness resources, such as healthy recipes, exercise videos, advice from physicians, and much more. This resource is available for free to all state employees.

Focusing on intrinsic motivation, state employees can meet milestones and earn up to 20,000 total meals annually to be donated to CAFB.  

Team building and friendly competition are encouraged. Join us in our quest to reduce preventable chronic disease, improve employee morale and productivity, and establish a culture of health for our employees statewide. Healthier U Connections is designed to inspire healthy habits, healthy minds, and healthy bodies.

The ceremony highlights the meals earned in 2018. The two state departments that earned the most meals were the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which earned 1,895 meals, and the Franchise Tax Board, which earned 724.

The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and include CalHR Chief Deputy Director Adria Jenkins-Jones, StayWell CEO Nicole Latimer, and CAFB Interim Executive Director Kathleen Odne.


​May 6, 2019

State of California Celebrates Public Service Recognition Week

Events to be held May 5 through May 11

SACRAMENTO, CA – Celebrated annually, Public Service Recognition Week honors the important contributions of the nation's public servants. These workers support California's government and are directly responsible for administering its services and programs. These vital efforts include providing California's residents with access to clean drinking water, safe parks, healthcare, and much more. Public servants help to create a better California every day.

This year, Public Service Recognition Week runs May 5-May 11. In California, a multi-department work group focused on improving employee engagement compiled a set of no-cost events departments can host to celebrate California's public servants.  Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement in support of all of our public workers.

"California could not be the land of opportunity and success it is today without its legion of committed public servants who carry out government's long list of important – though sometimes thankless – responsibilities," Newsom's message said. "During Public Service Recognition Week, we celebrate civil and public servants at all levels and the crucial work they do with passion, expertise and dedication in order to improve our lives and help build a California for all."

The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) encourages all state entities to participate in recognition activities across the state. Departments are encouraged to celebrate employees' years of service and their successes from the last year, as well as to give back to their local communities. One event, "Thankful Thursday," encourages departments to donate to local food banks.

California's Public Service Recognition Week is also a time for employees to reflect on the work they do every day.  Quotes from state employees:

"When you think of yourself as a public servant and that you are contributing to safety of the bridges, dams, high-rises, fire stations, and hospitals, definitely motivates me and it's a great feeling." – Vladimir Yanusik, Department of Conservation

"We will help people get through some of the worst times in their lives. I'm just so grateful that I can help people recover from pain and really move to place of healing and knowing that we're part of that healing process." – Anita Ahuja, CA Victim Compensation Board

More than 220,000 state employees do all manner of work to keep California safe, clean and prosperous.  Their commitment to service should be recognized and valued. California's Public Service Recognition Week activities reached more than 78,000 employees last year. Throughout the week, departments can share their celebrations on social media using #PSRWCA.

For more information about California's Public Service Recognition Week, visit


May 2, 2019

State of California Honors 14 with Governor's State Employee Medal of Valor Award

Award is the highest honor California bestows on its public servants

– The State of California today honored 14 state employees with the Governor's State Employee Medal of Valor Award (Medal of Valor Award) for acts of heroism during a ceremony at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento. The Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor the state can give its employees.

Medals were presented to the 14 recipients from four state departments on behalf of Governor Gavin Newsom by Chief of Staff Ann O'Leary. Other state officials participating in the ceremony included Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara; Brian Annis, Secretary of the Transportation Agency; Warren Stanley, Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol (CHP); Thom Porter, Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire); Laurie Berman, Director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans); Eraina Ortega, Director of the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR); and George Mueller, Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement at the Department of Insurance.

In a letter commemorating Public Service Recognition Week, which begins on Sunday, Governor Newsom praised the dedication and courageousness of California's public servants and Medal of Valor winners.

"Our state firefighters, officers and many other state workers who demonstrate incredible bravery and selflessness in responding to devastating wildfires and other emergencies are just some of the heroes serving in a state workforce of 220,000, tasked with everything from maintaining our roads to providing social services to the needy in our communities," Newsom wrote. "California could not be the land of opportunity and success it is today without its legion of committed public servants who carry out government's long list of important – though sometimes thankless – responsibilities."

"Every day, millions of Californians benefit from the hard work performed by the state's public servants," said Eraina Ortega, Director of CalHR. "Not only do state workers do important jobs, but sometimes they risk their own lives in very dangerous situations to save others and protect their fellow citizens. The Medal of Valor honors these heroic acts of bravery that represent the very best of public service."

The award comes in two distinctions, the Special Service Award (Silver) for an act of heroism by a state employee extending above and beyond the normal call of duty or service performed at personal risk to his or her safety to save human life or state property, and the Special Act Award (Gold) for an extraordinary act of heroism by a state employee extending far above and beyond the normal call of duty or service, performed at great risk to his or her own life in an effort to save human life.

The 2019 Medal of Valor recipients include CHP officers who continuously flew their helicopters in heavy smoke and 70-mph winds to rescue residents from a rapidly spreading fire in the Atlas Peak area of Sonoma County; a fire apparatus engineer with Cal Fire who helped bring two men out of the line of fire at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival shootings; and a tree maintenance supervisor with Caltrans who rescued a mother and her three children trapped in their vehicle on Highway 20 in Mendocino County when the Ranch Fire broke out. 

Pecipients of today's awards, the level of their award, and their employing department are as follows:

  • Phil Agdeppa, Gold, CHP
  • Benjamin Anderson, Silver, Caltrans
  • Thomas Britt, Silver, Caltrans
  • Gilbert Caldera, Gold, CHP
  • Broderick Carmichael, Silver, Caltrans
  • Pete Gavitte, Gold, CHP
  • Whitney Lowe, Gold, CHP
  • Paul Melendrez, Silver, Cal Fire
  • Chad Milward, Gold, CHP
  • Michael Gilbert Quinliven, Gold and Silver, Caltrans
  • Jose Serrano, Silver, CHP
  • Lonnie Swartout, Silver, Caltrans
  • Christopher Wetzel, Gold, Cal Fire

The Medal of Valor Award is sponsored by CalHR. Award nominations are made by the employee's department, reviewed by the statewide Merit Award Board, and selected by CalHR's director. The program began in 1959, and since then, 640 state employees have received Medals of Valor.

For more information about the Medal of Valor Award, visit Details of recipients' awards, and what they did to earn them, are posted on the website. 

CalHR is responsible for all issues related to employee salaries and benefits, job classifications, civil rights, training, exams, recruitment and retention. For most employees, many of these matters are determined through the collective bargaining process managed by the department. 

CalHR was established on July 1, 2012, by Governor Jerry Brown's Reorganization Plan Number 1 of 2011, which combined the Department of Personnel Administration with certain programs of the State Personnel Board to create the new department. For more information about CalHR, visit


July 26, 2018

Savings Plus Earns National Recognition

Retirement plan's innovative public education campaign receives award from national association

 – Savings Plus, which provides supplemental retirement savings programs for state employees, has won national recognition for a public information campaign encouraging workers receiving a pay raise to increase their contributions to their retirement plans.

The campaign involves mailing postcards to state employees shortly after they receive pay raises and informing them of how they can use Savings Plus to increase their retirement savings. The campaign, which began in 2017 and continues today, has reached more than 134,000 employees and resulted in more than 29,000 increasing their contributions.

"I am proud of Savings Plus and everyone who has worked on this campaign for helping state workers prepare for their future," said Richard Gillihan, director of the California Department of Human Resources. "Savings Plus offers state employees and other public servants a great opportunity to voluntarily contribute to, and increase, their retirement savings."

The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators announced Wednesday that the State of California was one of five organizations to win its 2018 Leadership Recognition Award for Participant Education and Effective Communication, thanks to the Savings Plus campaign.

For the campaign, Savings Plus developed a wide variety of postcards highlighting people of different ages and backgrounds – from baby boomers to millennials – all with the same message: "Even small increases can make a difference." The campaign prompted a 22-percent response rate that generated $16.5 million in contributions that amount to an estimated $192 million in annualized increases for retirement.

Learn more about saving for retirement at the Savings Plus website.


​January 11, 2018

State Personnel Board Approves New Information Technology Classification Plan

Civil Service Improvement project modernizes job classifications for 10,000 IT employees

SACRAMENTO, CA – The State Personnel Board (SPB) today approved a plan on a 4-0 vote that updates the job classifications for information technology employees as part of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s initiative to modernize California's civil service system.      

The plan consolidates 36 job classifications into nine new ones, effective January 31. The new classifications cover the entire information technology field and provide greater clarity and flexibility for the state to recruit skilled workers and for existing employees to plan career advancement.

The new information technology classifications are just one piece of a larger project to improve California's civil service system. Launched three years ago, the Civil Service Improvement (CSI) initiative aims to reform a large, complex administrative system governing more than 230,000 state employees.  

"Information technology is a dynamic, constantly changing field," said Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer. "This class consolidation plan gives the state modern descriptions and the structure needed to recruit and retain skilled information technology employees."

Under the CSI initiative, Government Operations Agency, CalHR, SPB and the Department of Finance are working together to consolidate the state's 2,862 classifications.

CalHR drafted the IT consolidation plan using a team of nearly 50 experts representing 13 different state departments and five agencies and worked closely with employee organizations, including SEIU, Local 1000.

"This is about bringing state IT job classifications into the 21st century and providing the state with a more sensible, modern administrative structure that will accommodate the changing nature of the IT industry," said CalHR Director Richard Gillihan.

In preparation for the changeover, CalHR will hold three days of forums for all departments in state government to guide and assist them in implementing the new classification structure.


​​Communications Office


Andrew LaMar
(916) 322-6944

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