Feb. 09–A longtime Fredericksburg-area business owner is giving 81 employees a one-time bonus as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December.
“We were so pleased with the tax relief that we got that we had to share it,” said Danny Payne, head of Payne Trucking Co. “There were tremendous savings in tax relief.”
Employees at the company’s locations in Massaponax and Dundalk, Md., who’ve worked for Payne at least six months received an extra $250 in their paycheck Jan. 26. Those who’ve worked there for at least a year got $500 and those who’ve been there at least five years got $750. Senior management and part-timers weren’t eligible.
Employees were ecstatic as news of the bonuses rippled through Payne’s office in Massaponax, said Sherry Gillispie, who works in the receivables and billing department.
“It came at a time when everybody could use it to get yourself out of debt or pay Christmas bills,” she said.
Gillespie said that she put hers in savings, while Jennifer Bullock, who works in the same department, said she used her bonus to pay for everyday expenses. Another co-worker, Mary Drew, said her bonus came in handy to pay her husband’s medical bills. Medicare doesn’t cover everything, she said, and they have deductibles to meet at the beginning of the year.
“I thanked Danny for it,” she said of the bonus. “I was very happy. Everyone here seemed to be very happy about it in the office.”
A number of major companies, including Apple, AT&T and Walmart, have announced that they’re offering bonuses or other compensation enhancements due to the federal tax cuts. Payne said that he hasn’t heard of any other local businesses offering any, and neither had the Fredericksburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m surprised,” he said. “I would think someone else would be doing it. What I’m seeing is they are only if they’re large companies.”
Payne started his company with one red and white dump truck in Culpeper in 1971. It grew steadily over the years, and he added a van, storage, and commercial brokerage and leasing divisions. In addition to his full-time employees, he employs hundreds of subcontractors throughout Virginia and Maryland.
Payne Trucking has more than 130 late-model dump trucks and trailers, which haul such things as salt, sand, scrap metal and nonhazardous waste, as well as stone and gravel. At any given time, about 40 vehicles in the fleet either need repairs or a driver.
“We’re starving for qualified drivers,” Payne said. “I think young people just do not want to drive trucks.”
He said that the company also agreed to boost pay, vacation time, sick leave and bonus packages for Payne Trucking employees at the same time the decision was made to give out the one-time bonuses.
“They’re just incentives all the way round to just to get people to come work for Payne Trucking,” said Payne, “and to continue to work here.”
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