2023 - 2026 SEIU 1021 Memorandum of Understanding: Article 12: Health & Welfare Benefits for Active Employees
What’s on this Page
- 12.1 Active Employee Health Plans
- 12.2 Enrollment in County Offered Health (Medical, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance) Plans
- 12.3 Employee Assistance Program
- 12.4 Malpractice Coverage
- 12.5 Short-Term Disability
- 12.6 Long-Term Disability
- 12.7 Workers’ Compensation Claims Dispute
- 12.8 Continuation of Health and Welfare Benefits – LWOP or Unpaid Absence
- 12.9 Medical, Dental, & Vision Benefits – Medical or Pregnancy Disability
- 12.10 Continuation of Health Benefits Coverage
- 12.11 Salary Enhancement Plans
- 12.12 Extra Help Employees
- 12.12.1 Extra Help Employees – Medical Benefits
- 12.12.2 Medical Benefits – Extra Help Employees: Eligibility
- 12.12.3 Extra Help Employees: Contribution for Medical Plan
- 12.12.4 Extra Help Employees: Continued Coverage and Conditions for Regaining Eligibility for Medical Plan
- 12.12.5 Extra Help Employees: Medical Plan – Dependent Coverage
- 12.12.6 Extra Help Employees: Enrollment in Medical Plan
- 12.12.7 Extra Help Employees: Medical Benefits & Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), or California Pregnancy Disability Leave (CPDL)
- 12.13 Plan Documents and Other Controlling Documents
- 12.14 Labor Management Meetings – Health Benefits
12.1 Active Employee Health Plan
An eligible employee is:
- A County of Sonoma probationary or regular full-time, or probationary or regular part-time employee (refer to Section 12.2.6 regarding plans offered and pro-ration of benefits for part-time employees).
Eligible employees may enroll eligible dependents. Eligible dependents are (as defined in each plan document / summary plan description):
- Either the employee’s spouse or domestic partner; and/or
- A child/children up to age 26 or a disabled dependent child regardless of age.
An eligible employee is allowed only to enroll either as a single subscriber in a County offered medical, dental, vision plan, and/or dependent life insurance, or as the dependent spouse / domestic partner of another eligible County employee / retiree, but not both.
If an employee is also eligible to cover their dependent child/children, each child will be allowed to enroll as a dependent on only one employee or retirees’ plan (i.e., an employee and his or her dependents cannot be covered by more than one County offered Health plan).
12.2 Enrollment in County Offered Health (Medical, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance) Plans
Election to enroll in a County offered health plan is required within the first 31 days following date of hire to permanently allocated position of .40 FTE or greater or it will be made during an annual enrollment period. Enrollment in vision and basic life insurance is automatic. Mid-year enrollment can only be permitted as allowed by IRC Section 125 or as required by HIPAA or other applicable regulations.
The effective date of benefits will be the first of the month following enrollment.
Health plan coverage will be paid on a semi-monthly basis (24 payments per year).
12.2.1 County Offered Medical Plan(s)
The County will offer at least three medical plans. The benefit provisions, co-payments and deductibles of each plan are outlined in the Summary Plan Description or Evidence of Coverage.
Effective June 1, 2024, the County will offer at least two HMO plans: the Kaiser HMO ($10.00 co-pay) plan and one other HMO plan. The County Health Plan PPO and EPO will be closed to new enrollment. Employees enrolled in the County Health Plan as of May 31, 2024, will be allowed to remain in the plan.
Specific reference to a vendor listed above does not obligate the County to continue to offer a medical plan offered by a specific vendor. The County may change health insurance carrier(s) and/or network provider(s), provided the plan design(s) are substantially equivalent.
12.2.2 County Contribution toward Active Employee Medical Benefits
The County shall contribute up to maximum of the following amounts based on level of coverage for employees enrolled in County-offered medical coverage for any eligible full-time regular employee and their eligible dependent(s).
Employee only $834 per month ($417 semi-monthly)
Employee plus one $1,668 per month ($834 semi-monthly)
Family $2,358 per month ($1,179 semi-monthly)
County Contribution-Plan Year 2023-2024
Effective the pay period beginning May 16, 2023, the County shall contribute up to maximum of the following amounts based on level of coverage for employees enrolled in County-offered medical coverage for any eligible full-time regular employee and their eligible dependent(s).
Employee only $851 per month ($425.50 semi-monthly)
Employee plus one $1,701 per month ($850.50 semi-monthly)
Family $2,405 per month ($1,202.50 semi-monthly)
County Contribution – Plan Year 2024-2025
Effective the pay period beginning May 14, 2024, the County shall contribute up to maximum of the following amounts based on level of coverage for employees enrolled in County-offered medical coverage for any eligible full-time regular employee and their eligible dependent(s).
Employee only $893 per month ($446.50 semi-monthly)
Employee plus one $1,786 per month ($893 semi-monthly)
Family $2,525 per month ($1,262.50 semi-monthly)
County Contribution – Plan Year 2025-2026
Effective the pay period beginning May 13, 2025, the County shall contribute up to maximum of the following amounts based on level of coverage for employees enrolled in County-offered medical coverage for any eligible full-time regular employee and their eligible dependent(s).
Employee only $938 per month ($469 semi-monthly)
Employee plus one $1,876 per month ($938 semi-monthly)
Family $2,652 per month ($1,326 semi-monthly)
This is the full and total contribution amount the County will contribute toward medical benefits for active regular employees and their dependent(s).
The County shall contribute to part-time eligible employees on a pro-rated basis, in accordance with Section 12.2.6.
12.2.3 Dental Benefits
The County offers dental and orthodontic benefits to full and part-time regular employees and their eligible dependent(s). Benefits provisions, co-payments and deductibles are outlined in the Evidence of Coverage.
The employee contribution is $14.13 semi-monthly ($28.26 per month).
The County shall contribute to part-time eligible employees on a pro-rated basis in accordance with Section 12.2.6.
12.2.4 Vision Benefits
The County offers vision and computer vision care benefits to full- time active employees and their dependent(s) with no employee contribution.
Part-time employees are automatically enrolled in the vision benefit and the County shall contribute to part-time eligible employees on a pro-rated basis in accordance with Section 12.2.6. Benefits provisions, co-payments and deductibles are outlined in the Evidence of Coverage.
12.2.5 Life Insurance
The life insurance coverage amount for employees in the 0001, 0005, 0010, 0025, 0080, and 0095 Bargaining Units will be in an amount equal to one (1) times their annual base salary. Enrollment in basic life insurance is automatic, based on eligibility.
Each eligible and enrolled employee may purchase, through payroll deduction, dependent coverage of $5,000 for each eligible dependent. Benefits provisions are outlined in the Schedule of Insurance or Group Insurance Policy.
Eligible employees may purchase additional life insurance coverage for themselves at their own expense upon initial eligibility or during the enrollment periods specified in Section 12.2.
The employee may purchase supplemental coverage in increments of $10,000, not to exceed a combined basic and supplemental life coverage maximum of $500,000, in accordance with the insurance carrier’s policy.
Participating employees and the County will be required to follow the insurance company’s contracted requirements with respect to maximum amounts and the necessity for evidence of insurability in order to be eligible to receive the benefit as may be amended from time to time and may be based on actual participation by County employees in the program. An employee enrolled in supplemental coverage who moves from one age bracket to the next higher bracket will have to pay the rate of the higher age bracket beginning the January of the year in which the employee moves to the higher age bracket.
12.2.6 Part-Time Employees – Health Benefits
Part-time employees in allocated positions of 32 hours or more biweekly (.40 FTE minimum) shall be eligible to participate in the County’s medical, dental and vision plans and the County’s contribution toward their premiums shall be pro-rated. Pro-ration shall be based on the number of pay status hours in the pay period, excluding overtime and including periods of qualified FMLA and CFRA leaves without pay.
12.2.7 Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) Contribution
County contributions pursuant to this article will be available to Plan participants for reimbursement of eligible medical care expenses as incurred by an eligible employee or dependent(s) as defined under Internal Revenue Code Sections 105 and 106. The plan and benefit provisions plan are outlined in the County of Sonoma Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) Plan Document.
HRA contributions made pursuant to this article are separate and apart from HRA contributions and benefit eligibility criteria for Retiree Medical for employees hired on or after January 1, 2009, pursuant to Article 13.3.
12.3 Employee Assistance Program
The County provides an Employee Assistance Program for all employees at no cost to the employee.
Upon Union request, the County will meet and confer with the Union regarding any substantive changes to the Employee Assistance Program.
12.4 Malpractice Coverage
All employees of the County who are engaged in patient care and covered by the County’s malpractice coverage shall continue to be covered for activities falling within the scope of their employment. Criminal or fraudulent conduct by the employee within the scope of their employment is specifically excluded. If the County should discontinue the malpractice coverage, the County shall meet and confer with the Union. In accordance with existing practice, this Section 12.4 is neither grievable nor arbitrable.
12.5 Short-Term Disability
SEIU makes available an optional short-term disability benefit program with premiums fully paid by the employee. The County shall deduct applicable premiums for coverage through payroll deductions. Upon request of the Union, the County will make a good faith effort to integrate any sick leave requested by an employee who is eligible to receive benefits under the Union’s short-term disability plan. The Union and its insurance carrier as requested to will cooperate fully with the County, but the County reserves the right to conclude such an integration if it becomes unworkable or beyond the County’s resources available for payroll maintenance activities.
12.6 Long-Term Disability
The County shall provide and pay the premium for a Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefit as described in the applicable policy certificate to all full and part-time employees (0.4 FTE minimum) who meet the eligibility requirements. Enrollment in the Long-Term Disability benefit is automatic. The Policy Certificate can be found at:
The benefit waiting period is the longer of 60 days, or the period you elect to receive paid leave. Employees eligible to received LTD benefits are not required to exhaust sick leave before receiving LTD benefits, but an employee who chooses to use sick leave or other paid leave after the 60th day of disability is not eligible to receive any LTD benefits until the employee stops using paid leaves. LTD benefits cannot be supplemented with any paid leave. LTD benefits will be offset by any applicable income, such as, short-term disability benefits, social security and social security disability benefits, etc.
12.6.1 Long-Term Disability Claims Dispute
The claims dispute process is described in the Policy Certificate. Human Resources Risk Management Division will assist employees with claims dispute processing.
12.7 Workers' Compensation Claims Dispute
Any dispute by an employee over a claim processed through workers’ compensation shall be resolved solely through the appropriate appeal procedures of that system and may not be the subject of a grievance through this memorandum.
12.7.1 Workers’ Compensation Temporary Disability – Supplementing With Paid Leave
An employee not entitled to the benefits of Labor Code Section 4850 who is absent from work by reasons of industrial injury compensable by temporary disability shall supplement such compensation with enough paid leaves to increase the employee's gross earnings to equal the employee's regular biweekly base salary as follows:
- All sick leaves shall be taken until the remaining sick leave balance is forty (40) hours or less.
- Once the sick leave balance is forty (40) hours or less, the employee may elect to supplement by taking any combination of the remaining sick leave, vacation, and or compensatory time off up to the employee's base salary.
- Employees whose sick leave balance is forty (40 hours or less may also elect not to supplement at all.
An employee shall accrue vacation leave and sick leave only during such portion of absence from work due to industrial injury for which the employee uses previously earned vacation leave, sick leave or compensatory time off.
12.8 Continuation of Health and Welfare Benefits – LWOP or Unpaid Absence
If an employee is on an unpaid absence or goes on leave without pay, either of which reduces the employee’s time in pay status to less than 50% of the employee’s allocated full-time equivalent in a pay period, the County will cease to pay its normal benefit contributions, except as noted in 12.9 and 17.12.1. The employee must pay the total benefit premiums if the employee desires to continue any coverage for a period no longer than six (6) months. Beginning with the first day of the seventh month, the employee will be entitled to continued health coverage through COBRA Continuation of Coverage and is responsible for making a timely election and paying the COBRA premiums by the due date.
If an employee is on an unpaid absence or goes on leave without pay, either of which reduces the employee’s time in pay status to no less than 50% of the employee’s regular schedule in a pay period, the County will continue to pay its normal benefit contributions.
12.9 Medical, Dental, and Vision Benefits – Medical or Pregnancy Disability
When an employee exhausts all but 40 hours of sick leave and goes on medical or pregnancy disability leave without pay, the County will make its normal contribution to the employee’s medical, dental, vision care, life insurance, and LTD benefits for a period not to exceed 13 pay periods per disability. Beginning with the 14th pay period, the employee will be entitled to continued health coverage through COBRA Continuation of Coverage and is responsible for making a timely election and paying the COBRA premiums by the due date. Prior to the exhaustion of the 13 pay periods the County will provide reasonable notice of the employee’s obligations regarding the opportunity to continue employee-paid benefits. An employee who returns to work from medical or pregnancy disability leave without pay prior to the exhaustion of the 13 pay periods of entitlement under this Article, shall not have the 13 pay period entitlement reduced for any pay period in which the employee is in pay status for at least 50% of the employee’s allocated full-time equivalent as specified in this Section 12.9 (Medical or Pregnancy Disability Leave). If the employee returns to medical or pregnancy disability leave without pay for the same condition, the 13 pay period time frame will continue where it left off and will be reduced only for those pay periods when the employee’s pay status hours fall below 50% of the allocated full-time equivalent. The County’s 13 pay period leave without pay benefit entitlement shall run concurrent with FMLA/CFRA/CPDL. The employee’s entitlement under COBRA law begins when the employee is no longer eligible for a County contribution toward medical benefits. When the employee returns to 50% allocated full-time equivalent in pay status, eligibility for a County contribution toward health benefits is regained. Benefit coverage begins the first of the following month once a completed and signed Employee Benefit Enrollment/Change for is received by Human Resources Benefits Unit within 31-days of the return from leave.
12.10 Continuation of Health Benefits Coverage
An employee who is entitled to continued benefit coverage as specified in Section 12.8 (Medical, Dental & Vision Benefits – LWOP or Unpaid Absence), Subsection 17.12.1 (Leaves – Stipend Education Leave – Health Benefit Continuation), and/or Section 12.9 (Medical, Dental & Vision Benefits - Medical or Pregnancy Disability) above, must notify the ACTTC no later than five (5) County business days after the first day of the leave of absence, of the employee’s intent to continue insurance coverage. A Request for Leave Without Pay form signed by the employee and the employee’s appointing authority shall be forwarded to the ACTTC’s Office when leave is authorized. To assure continued insurance coverage, premiums shall be paid by the employee to the ACTTC’s Office no later than the last day of the pay period or the date specified in the notice. If the employee fails to pay the premium by the last day of the pay period, the employee will receive one reminder notice. In order to prevent a lapse in coverage due to non-payment, the employee shall pay a $25.00 late charge in addition to the premium amount due by the date specified in the reminder notice. Only one reminder notice will be sent. If the employee fails to make proper payment within 30 days of the first due date, the employee’s medical, dental, vision, life insurance and LTD coverage shall be terminated. Coverage will not be reinstated until the 1st of the month following return to pay status once a completed and signed Employee Benefit Enrollment/Change form is received by Human Resources Benefits Unit within 31-days of the return from leave.
12.10.1 Part-Time Employees – Health Benefits During Leave Of Absence
Part-time employees shall be eligible to participate in the medical benefit plans and/or the dental plans on a prorated basis, as defined in Section 12.2.6. For pay periods with no pay status hours, pro-ration shall be based on the employee’s FTE or the average pay status hours in the 6 pay periods preceding the first day of leave without pay, whichever is greater. Part-time employees shall be entitled to participate in long-term disability as specified in Section 12.6 (Long-Term Disability).
The County provides continuation of health benefits at group rates plus 2% as required by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986, including any applicable subsequent amendments or revisions where applicable.
12.11 Salary Enhancement Plans
IRS Section 414(h)(2)
All employees who belong to the Sonoma County Employee Retirement Association shall have their wages adjusted according to Section 414(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code which has the effect of deferring Federal and State income taxes on the employee’s retirement contributions.
IRS Section 125:
The County shall continue, under IRS Code Section 125, to administer a Health Care Premium Conversion Plan that allows eligible employees to make their required contributions towards health premiums with pre-tax dollars through payroll deduction. The County will make no contribution to this plan, however, it will bear the cost of administering this benefit.
Health Flexible Spending Account
The County provides a Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to enable eligible employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for reimbursement of employee’s qualified medical expenses not reimbursed by the employee’s health insurance plan and will be provided to the maximum amount stipulated in the Plan and consistent with law.
Dependent Care Assistance Program
The County provides a Dependent Care Assistance Program subject to the limitations and maximums as stipulated under law.
All of the above plans will be administered by the County in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws as amended and, as such, will not be grievable or arbitrable.
12.12 Extra Help Employees
Only benefits required by law and the following sections of Article 12 apply to Extra Help employees: 12.4 (Malpractice Coverage), 12.7 (Workers’ Comp-Claims dispute), 12.10.2 (COBRA), Sections 12.12.1 through 12.12.7 (Extra Help Employees – Medical Benefits), 12.13 (Plan Documents and Other Controlling Documents).
12.12.1 Extra Help Employees – Medical Benefits
Extra Help employees shall have access to a medical plan.
The County will offer all available health plans, excluding the County EPO and County PPO plans, to eligible Extra Help employees and their eligible dependent(s) as is provided to regular employees as described in Article 12.2.1.
12.12.2 Medical Benefits – Extra Help Employees: Eligibility
Employees who meet the following criteria will be eligible to begin payroll deductions once both criteria are met:
- Must generally be scheduled to work at least forty (40) hours per pay period, and
- Worked at least 80 hours in the previous two (2) pay periods.
Once an employee has been deemed eligible based on the above criteria, employees shall not be dis-enrolled for no longer meeting the criteria.
12.12.3 Extra Help Employees: Contribution For Medical Plan
Effective with the first premium due, the County contribution shall be up to $400 per month.
Pro-ration shall be as follows:
- For each pay period in which the Extra Help employee works 40 or more hours, the full County contribution will be paid.
- For each pay period in which the Extra Help employee works more than 20 but fewer than 40 hours, the above amounts shall be prorated in proportion to the number of hours worked in the pay period.
- For each pay period in which the Extra Help employee works fewer than 20 hours, no County contribution will be made.
- Premiums for the plan will be paid in advance on the first two pay dates of the month prior to the coverage effective date and on the first two pay dates of every month thereafter. When payment has been made in full, coverage will take effect on the first of the month following payment and shall end on the last day of the same month. Coverage will be month to month and is dependent on full payment of premiums and subject to continued eligibility.
The employee premiums shall be paid through pre-tax payroll deduction as allowed by IRS Code Section 125.
12.12.4 Extra Help Employees: Continued Coverage And Conditions For Regaining Eligibility For Medical Plan
An Extra Help employee who is enrolled in the medical plan who fails to work at least 20 hours in any pay period in which a premium deduction was due, will be eligible to contribute toward the medical coverage by paying the full amount of the premiums by payroll deduction if sufficient funds are available to fully cover the deduction. Premium payments not paid by payroll deduction will be due in the ACTTC’s Payroll Office by the last day of the pay period in which there were insufficient hours worked. A $25 late fee will apply for each payment not received by the due date.
Premium payments not paid by payroll deduction but paid directly to the ACTTC’s Office may be continued for a maximum of three (3) months or upon the exhaustion of any approved CPDL, CFRA, or FMLA benefit period, whichever is later.
- Employees who choose to pay timely premiums directly to the ACTTC’s Office by cash or check without a lapse in coverage shall resume premium payment by payroll deduction on the first available pay date following their last cash premium payment without a lapse in coverage.
- Employees who choose to lapse their coverage during a period of absence may do so by notifying the ACTTC’s Payroll Office in writing no later than 7 days after the premium due date. Coverage will be lost for the months not paid. Premium payment by payroll deduction shall restart on the first pay date of a month with sufficient funds to cover the cost of premiums due and shall continue until discontinued by a written cancellation notice, non-payment of premiums, a temporary lapse in coverage in accordance with this Section, or separation from employment. Coverage will not restart until a full month’s premiums are paid in full.
- Employees may choose to cancel their coverage by completing the appropriate forms.
- Employees who fail to make any of the above elections or who fail to pay premiums when due shall receive one notice of payment due and shall have their coverage canceled for failure to respond.
- The County reserves the right to cancel an employee’s active coverage if the employee lapses coverage more than three times, or a similar frequency that is determined to be an administrative burden.
An employee who loses coverage under this Section may be eligible to elect COBRA continuation of coverage if he or she is no longer eligible to pay premiums directly to the ACTTC’s payroll division.
The failure to pay premiums or the election to lapse or cancel coverage are not COBRA qualifying events.
12.12.5 Extra Help Employees: Medical Plan – Dependent Coverage
Covered employees may purchase dependent coverage for eligible dependents at their own expense through pre-tax payroll deduction as allowed by IRS Code Section 125.
12.12.6 Extra Help Employees: Enrollment In Medical Plan
Approximately 2 months prior to the anticipated eligibility date, the County shall provide enrollment materials to the employee. The employee then has 31 calendar days from the date of notice to enroll. If coverage is waived upon initial eligibility, election to participate in the medical plan can only be made during an annual open enrollment period designated by the County or as required by law.
12.12.7 Extra Help Employees: Medical Benefits and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), or California Pregnancy Disability Leave (CPDL)
Eligible Extra Help employees who are off work on an FMLA or CFRA qualifying leave shall receive a County contribution toward medical insurance equal to the average amount received in the two pay periods immediately preceding the first pay period of eligible leave. Employees must pay their share of the medical benefits in order to maintain coverage and to continue to be eligible for a County contribution. Employees must file an Extra Help FMLA/CFRA Request for Leave form along with appropriate medical documentation with their department. Upon approval, the leave form signed by the employee and the employee's appointing authority shall be forwarded to the ACTTC’s office.
An employee who is eligible for this continued benefit shall notify the ACTTC’s payroll division of the employee’s intent to continue insurance coverage no later than five (5) County business days after the first day of the leave.
To ensure continued insurance coverage, premiums shall be paid by the employee to the ACTTC’s office no later than the last day of the pay period for which premiums were due. If the employee fails to pay the premium by the last day of the pay period, the employee will receive one reminder notice. In order to prevent a lapse in coverage due to non-payment, the employee shall pay a $25.00 late charge in addition to the premium amount due by the date specified in the reminder notice. Only one reminder notice will be sent. If the employee fails to make proper payment within 30 days of the first due date, the employee’s continued medical insurance shall be terminated
Premium deductions will not be restarted until the 1st of the month following return to a regular schedule of 40 or more hours biweekly, with coverage reinstated the first of the month following payment of a full months premiums.
12.13 Plan Documents and Other Controlling Documents
While mention may be made herein of various provisions of benefit programs, specific details of benefits (including disputes and/or appeals) provided under County offered health plans shall be governed solely by the plan documents or insurance contracts and/or policies maintained by the County. Plan documents are available on line at the following location:
The County will bear no responsibility for resolving disputes/appeals between an employee and a contracted health plan vendor. Within this Section, vendor refers to insurance company, Knox-Keene organizations licensed in the state of California to provide health benefits, benefits administration, or network management.
12.14 Labor Management Meetings – Health Benefits
Through the term of this Memorandum, upon Union request, the County and representatives of the Union, not to exceed four (4) in number, shall meet quarterly at mutually agreed upon times at the County to discuss informational matters of mutual concern relating to the County Health Plan and other health benefit related benefits. More frequent meetings may be held upon mutual agreement. If a meeting occurs during an employee union representative’s regular work schedule, the employee can attend without loss of regular pay and benefits. Items and information to be discussed at each meeting shall be subject to advance mutual agreement. The parties acknowledge that these meetings and this provision shall not be subject to Article 21 (Grievance Procedure), to meet and confer requirements of the County Employee Relations Policy and Section 3505 of the Government Code.