The Union County Quorum Court last month voted unanimously to provide holiday bonuses to county employees.
According to the bonus ordinance, all employees and elected officials employed or in office as of Oct. 21 and in good standing were to receive their bonuses by Wednesday, Nov. 24, just in time for holiday sales following Thanksgiving.
Full-time workers employed for one to two years were to receive $250. Those employed two years plus one day to five years were to receive $500. Workers employed five years plus one day to 10 years were entitled to $750. Workers employed for 10 years or more received $1,000.
"On behalf of Union County Sheriff's Office employees, thank you for the bonus. I wasn't expecting it," said Sheriff Ricky Roberts as October's Quorum Court meeting wrapped up. "We also thank you for what you do for us as employees and thank you for what you do for the citizens of the county."
Last week, the Quorum Court approved additional bonuses for county employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Any county worker employed by Nov. 18 who proves they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 1, 2022 will be eligible to receive a $635.26 bonus to be paid with federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
To be considered fully vaccinated, one must have received either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Two weeks must have elapsed since the worker received their final vaccine shot as well.
The employee will need to show their supervisor or department head their vaccine card and fill out a form verifying that they've been vaccinated. The information will then be passed along to Union County Judge Mike Loftin's office.
District 1 Justice of the Peace Mike Dumas, who chairs the Quorum Court's Finance Committee, said it would likely take about 30 days for the vaccine bonuses to be processed and paid out.
The idea to provide an incentive for county employees to get vaccinated originated in the Quorum Court's Public Service Committee, which is made up of District 5 JP Carolyn Jones, District 7 JP Johnny Burson, District 6 JP Cecil Polk and District 3 JP Greg Harrison.
The Quorum Court last week appropriated $75,000 from the ARPA funds distributed to Union County to pay out the vaccine bonuses through the remainder of 2021. JPs noted last week that a second appropriation ordinance would likely come up in 2022 to pay out more vaccine incentive bonuses.
"We feel real good about it, giving this incentive, because not only, you've still got your choice whether you want to do it or not. If you do do it, we feel like maybe we could save one employee if something happened by giving the incentive for them to get their shots," Polk said on Nov. 18.