🌟✨🏠 From Our House to Yours: Supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities! 🌟✨🏠


We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Sierra HR Partners is joining hands with the incredible Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Central Valley (RMHCCV) in their extraordinary “From Our House to Yours” telethon!

At Sierra HR Partners, we firmly believe in the power of community and supporting those who need it most. That’s why we are incredibly proud to champion the inspiring mission of RMHCCV, which is to provide a loving and nurturing home away from home for the families of hospitalized children.

As parents, we understand the emotional and logistical challenges that arise when a child requires hospitalization. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Central Valley is a true beacon of hope, offering a sanctuary where families can find comfort, support, and essential resources during these difficult times.

Through our collaboration with RMHCCV, we aim to contribute to the incredible work they do, ensuring that families facing medical crises can focus on what truly matters: being together, supporting one another, and helping their children heal.

We invite all of you to join us in this remarkable endeavor! Your support can make a world of difference. Whether it’s spreading the word, donating, or volunteering your time, every act of kindness goes a long way in brightening the lives of these families and providing them with the care they need.

Let’s come together as a community and rally behind Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Central Valley. Together, we can create a lasting impact, bringing love, comfort, and a sense of home to those who need it most.

For more information about RMHCCV and how you can get involved, please visit their website at https://rmhccv.org/. Together, we can make a difference!


Supporting Employee Mental Health: A Top Priority!


📢 Supporting Employee Mental Health: A Top Priority! 🌟

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

At Sierra HR Partners, we understand the significance of mental health and its impact on our overall happiness and productivity.We believe that employees’ well-being is a cornerstone of a businesses success.

As we strive for excellence, it is crucial to foster an environment that promotes positive mental health. Here’s how we can make a difference together:

1) Encourage open communication: Create a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns without fear of judgment. Encourage regular check-ins, provide anonymous feedback channels, and promote open dialogue about mental well-being.

2) Establish work-life balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance by encouraging employees to take breaks, use their vacation time, and avoid excessive overtime. Set realistic expectations and prioritize the well-being of your team members.

3) Provide mental health resources: Offer access to mental health resources such as employee assistance programs, counseling services, or mental health workshops. Provide information about local resources and helplines that employees can utilize when needed.

4) Promote self-care practices: Encourage employees to prioritize self-care by providing opportunities for physical exercise, mindfulness sessions, or relaxation techniques. Consider implementing wellness programs that focus on nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

5) Foster a supportive work environment: Encourage teamwork, collaboration, and empathy among employees. Create a sense of belonging by celebrating achievements, recognizing individual strengths, and providing support during challenging times.

6) Train managers and leaders: Provide training to managers and leaders to help them recognize signs of mental distress, offer support, and refer employees to appropriate resources. Equip them with the skills to foster a mentally healthy work environment.

7) Consider implementing flexible work options: This allows employees to manage personal responsibilities and reduces stress related to work-life conflicts.

Remember, promoting mental health in the workplace is an ongoing effort. By implementing these strategies, you can create a supportive culture that values and prioritizes the well-being of all employees!


COVID-19 Update: Revised Exclusion Timeline and Mask Guidance


On March 3, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced new COVID-19 guidelines that will go into effect on Monday, March 13, 2023. These new guidelines will replace current guidelines.

Sierra HR Partners has developed an updated document summarizing the new information below. Please e-mail us to request a PDF copy.

A New Exclusion Approach

If an employee reports testing positive for COVID-19, they must be directed to stay home. Under the previous guidance, they could return to work five days after the start of their symptoms if they tested negative at that point. Without a negative test, they’d be excluded from work until after Day 10. Under the new guidance, individuals may return after Day 5 simply if they feel well. Like before, it’s still critical that symptoms have improved and that the employee has been fever-free for at least 24 hours, but a negative test will no longer be required.

Mask Guidance

Under previous guidance, those who returned to work after 5 days were still required to wear a mask through Day 10. Under new guidance, those who return after 5 days may remove their masks sooner, if two sequential negative tests are taken at least a day apart. The employee may stop wearing a mask after Day 10 without a negative test.

COVID Exposure 

The CDPH recommendations for people with symptoms or who were exposed to a COVID-19 case are unchanged. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the CDPH recommends that you isolate and test as soon as possible. If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to isolate, but the CDPH recommends that you test 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.

These changes to our COIVD response are in addition to other recent changes, including to the definition of “close contact” and the removal of “exclusion pay” related to workplace COVID exposures. You can read about those changes in our COVID-19 Update Headliner from early February.

What About Healthcare?

The guidelines discussed above are for non-healthcare settings. The CDPH continues to maintain separate guidance for healthcare facilities.

That said, the end of the state of emergency in California on February 28 has allowed guidance for healthcare and other high-risk settings to change. Under this new guidanceeffective April 3, masks are no longer required in healthcare and high-risk settings. The CDPH adds, “Health care facilities and other high-risk setting operators should develop and implement their own facility-specific plans based on their community, patient population, and other facility considerations incorporating CDPH and CDC recommendations​” (emphasis added). Additionally, effective April 3, vaccines are no longer required for healthcare workers.


Are You Paying Rest and Meal Period Premiums Correctly?

HR Headliner

The phrase “Time is Money” is perhaps never more true than when we’re navigating California wage and hour law. A 2021 court ruling regarding the calculation of rest and meal period premiums may have created an important and challenging new step in your payroll process.

As you know, California Labor Code section 510 and IWC Wage Orders require that employees receive overtime compensation at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for work hours over 8 in a workday or over 40 in a workweek. If an employee receives multiple pay rates in a workweek (for example, a shift differential for certain shifts), or earns commissions or non-discretionary bonuses, the regular rate of pay must be calculated using these amounts.

California Labor Code section 226.7 states that if an employee is not provided with a rest or meal period in accordance with the law, “the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation.” Unlike regular rate of pay, the Labor Code and Wage Orders do not define this term, and employers have historically interpreted the requirement as one additional hour at an employee’s straight-time hourly rate.

A 2015 class action lawsuit, Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, challenged this practice. The complainant argued that non-discretionary incentive payments should be included in the regular rate of compensation when calculating rest and meal period premiums. The trial court found in favor of the defendant, saying that the terminology used in the two Labor Code sections were not interchangeable, and the calculations involved in regular rate of pay were not applicable to rest and meal period premiums. In 2019, a Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision and employers breathed a huge sigh of relief….

….Until July 2021, when the California Supreme Court reversed both the trial court’s and the Court of Appeals’ findings. In its decision, the Supreme Court acknowledged that we are not given a clear definition of the term regular rate of compensation, but held that this does not mean the drafters of the law intended for there to be a different approach. In fact, the Court determined that the terms had been used interchangeably in legislative sessions and court decisions.

Based on this ruling, rest and meal period premiums must be calculated using either a weighted average of the employee’s pay rates and earnings in a workweek, or including non-discretionary incentives received during the workweek. The Court also stated that the ruling would be applied retroactively saying, “no considerations of fairness or public policy” warranted applying the policy only for future practices. (If an employee earns just one hourly rate and no commissions or bonuses, the regular rate of pay is simply the straight-time hourly rate.)

We know that calculating an employee’s regular rate of pay can be extremely confusing. Please contact one of our certified Consultants if you have questions about your current payroll procedures.