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New Employee? Understanding Health Benefits

As a new Full or Part time employee at the County of Sonoma, you probably have a lot of questions about your health benefits; 

  • When will I begin receiving my benefits?
  • What benefits am I eligible for?
  • What is my share of cost?
  • How do I enroll?

The answers to your questions can be found here on the New Employee Resources page and in the New Employee Benefits Orientation presentation.


Benefits must be offered through a memorandum of understanding (MOU), contract or salary resolution.  You must be in a permanently allocated position scheduled at least 32 hours per pay period (.40 FTE). Not sure if this applies to you? Review your employment offer or ask your supervisor the following questions;

  • What bargaining unit am I in?
  • What is my FTE (full time equivalent)?

Once you have this information, you can review the following resources for answers to all your questions.

New Employee Orientation

All new Full and Part time employees will attend New Employee Orientation (NEO).  During NEO you will hear from key departments that will provide you with resources for success.  

For a sneak peak, or refresher, of the HR Benefits Unit presentation, review our benefit slides

Don't be shy!  NEO is a great opportunity to ask questions.  In our experience, if you have a question, others attending the presentation probably have the same question.  

Questions specific to your situation can be sent to the HR Benefits Unit at

Extra Help?

Extra Help employees who meet the following eligibility requirements will be eligible to enroll in Medical.   

  • Scheduled to work at least 40 hours per pay period
  • Have worked at least 80 hours in the last two pay periods

Once you become eligible, the HR Benefits Unit will notify you by mail.

Interested in learning more?

All Extra Help employees are enrolled in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at the time of hire.  This benefits is paid 100% by the County of Sonoma.  Visit our EAP page for more information.


Need help with Benefit Enrollment Decisions?
Looking for a new provider?

Contact CareCounsel Health Advocacy Program at (888) 227-3334 or at  Member Care Specialists are available 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday thru Friday.

This is a confidential service staffed by health care experts who can answer your questions about the differences between health plans offered by the County, how to use your health plan, and help resolve problems you encounter with your medical, dental or vision plans.  CareCounsel is not  a health insurance plan, but is an advocacy service dedicated to help you get the best out of your health plans and to help you access the care you need.  When you use the health advocacy service, you have CareCounsel's assurance that no identifying information will be shared with the County. 

Visit our CareCounsel page for more information!