A Kentucky HVAC contractor decided the best way to handle the upcoming vaccine mandate was to ease employee concerns with education, quality leadership, and a bonus. Jett’s Specialty Contracting in Paducah, Kentucky, is paying all of its 62 employees a $500 bonus for getting fully vaccinated. Office manager Rachel Jett said it doesn’t matter when the employee received the vaccination, whether they work in the office or the field, or how long they have been with the company. Get a shot, get a check.
Rachel Jett’s husband, Jeffrey, started the firm in 2013. Jeffrey Jett is a Marine Corps. veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, Jett’s qualifies as a service-disabled veteran owned small business. The firm does a lot of service work at Veteran’s Administration hospitals, along with other health care facilities.
“There’s just a lot of places where they’re starting to encourage vaccinations, and I wanted our customers to have the utmost confidence that we’re doing everything we can to make sure they’re taken care of and that we’re following their rules,” Rachel Jett said.
“If we’re covered on the highest level, then we’re covered on all fronts.”
Background in Nursing Helps Effort
Jett’s also provides service to residential customers. Rachel Jett said she hasn’t heard any questions from the customers about vaccination status, as other contractors have, but she feels good about letting them know the company’s policy. It’s just the next step after wearing PPE and other precautions.
“When they come into your home, you have that extra confidence that we’ve done everything we can,” Rachel Jett said.
The program started on Oct. 5, but Rachel Jett started thinking about it as soon as the vaccines rolled out. As a registered nurse, she was in charge of the firm’s safety program before the pandemic. Rachel Jett did her research on the vaccines so she could provide her employees with informed advice. The Jetts also received their vaccine early, which she said gave the employees an assurance that they stood behind it.
“I feel like my background in nursing has helped a lot in developing policies and procedures,” Rachel Jett said. “I feel that it’s definitely benefited the company to have a registered nurse on staff.”
Investment in Employees, Customers Worth the Cost
The cost of the bonus program is fairly high, topping $30,000. It also cost Jett’s a few employees. Rachel Jett said she doesn’t take that personally. She understands people are afraid of the unknown and these vaccines are all new. In some cases, it’s the first use of a new biotechnology. As for writing all those bonus checks, she sees it as money well spent.
“Investing back in our employees only benefits us,” Rachel Jett said. “I would do it again. I have no regrets about it whatsoever.”
The cost of losing work at the various healthcare facilities would have been higher. This is especially true of the VA hospitals, where Jett’s special status gives the firm an advantage in getting work. Jett’s has worked on more than 20 VA hospitals in several states over the years.
Jett’s stands out in its community and in its industry for its high number of vaccinated employees. At this point, there are only about 10 who have yet to get a shot, Rachel Jett said. Only about half of Kentucky residents have been vaccinated. What’s more, the construction trades lag other fields in getting vaccinated. Rachel Jett said many in the construction industry worry about losing employees if they push vaccinations.
The day after Jett’s started its bonus program, the firm was profiled by the local TV station. Rachel Jett said she started to receive calls that day from people wanting to know how their program works so they can do something similar.
“I hope we’re a model for other construction companies,” she said.