It will be Christmas in July for Moffat County's employees this year.
Due to a change in the payment plan for about 200 people employed by Moffat County, what are normally Christmas bonuses will be given to employees in July.
Moffat County Administrative Services Director Debra Murray said the bonuses are being given this summer to help employees adjust to a transition from being paid monthly to being paid every other week.
Right now county employees turn in their time sheets between the 15th and 20th of every month.
When they receive their paychecks at the end of that month, overtime hours worked during that pay period are not reflected on that check. Those hours are reflected on the following month's check.
"The problem is if an employee works overtime he or she does not get paid for it until five or six weeks later," Murray said. "We want to actually pay them for the time on their time sheet so they can get their overtime pay quicker. That's basically what we're doing."
Moffat County employees will get their last monthly check June 28th.
They will then turn in a time sheet on July 8 and get one week's pay July 15.
They will then turn in another time sheet July 22 and will get two weeks pay July 29.
The one week county employees are not paid for during the month of July will be carried over to their final paycheck whenever their county employment ends.
To ease the burden of missing out on that one week of pay during July, the Christmas bonus will be given during that month, Murray said.
"We're going to give them that so it's not such a hardship," said Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos. "We felt it would be a smoother transition for them."
Raftopoulos said she and Commissioner Les Hampton got the idea for the new payment method at a budget workshop sponsored by the Department of Local Affairs in Vail.
"A lot of businesses and counties have gone to that method," Raftopoulos said. "It's better for the accounting system and getting people paid for the hours they work."
The commissioners approved the new method of pay at a meeting Wednesday.
They also voted to require all new employees to receive payments by method of direct deposit beginning in July.
Although it has not yet been voted on, all employees in Moffat County will likely have to get paid by automatic deposit beginning in January, Murray said.
Hampton said other ideas are being explored to make payments to employees smoother for the accounting department.
"We're beginning to look at other methods to improve the efficiency of the system as well," Hampton said. "We're looking at a computer input system instead of putting time on cards."