Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca, recently announced that he and his wife have started a legal fund to push back against a local medical debt collection company.

Melaleuca, an Idaho Falls-based health and wellness company, gave 224 employees longevity checks, totaling $3,039,503, Tuesday at the company’s annual meeting.

The bonuses were distributed to 165 employees from Idaho Falls and Rexburg, 56 from Knoxville, Tenn., two from Hawaii and one from Puerto Rico.

Josh Kunz is the director of coaching and leadership development for European markets and some Asian markets at Melaleuca. He’s been with the company for 20 years and received a $20,000 (net) bonus from his employer.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” Kunz said. “It’s a huge deal to me and my family and to our family’s future.”

In total, Melaleuca has paid $26 million in longevity bonuses since instituting the “Loyalty & Long-Term Contribution Bonus” program in 2007. All full-time and part-time employees are eligible to receive a bonus.

Melaleuca pays $5,000 after five years at the company, $10,000 at 10 years, $15,000 at 15 years, $20,000 net (which is a total payment of $33,361) at 20 years, $25,000 at 25 years and $30,000 at 30 years, according to a news release from the company.

“I think it’s great that we’re going through life together,” said Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot in the release. “It’s important to reward the people who have built Melaleuca, and this bonus serves as a token of our appreciation for their years of dedicated service.”

Nicki Bowden, a policy administration manager at Melaleuca, received a $30,000 check after three decades at the company. Bowden said the extra money will give her peace of mind about the future.

“It gives me a sense of security and stability,” she said in the release. “I feel even more confident now as I look toward my retirement years that I will be prepared.”

VanderSloot created the bonus program so that every long-term employee can have $1 million in savings by the time they retire.

“It’s our goal that all Melaleuca employees will retire as millionaires,” VanderSloot said in the release. “Even the janitors will retire as millionaires if they simply follow our program.”

To reach $1 million in savings, a 30-year employee would need to participate in the company’s 401(k) matching program, invest their longevity bonuses and achieve a modest rate of return on that investment, the release said.

Kunz started at Melaleuca when he want 19 years old, working in a call center. Now he’s 40 years old, married and has six children. They live in Idaho Falls.

“Our company culture and philosophy from the beginning is to be fiscally responsible,” Kunz said. “We’ll invest that (longevity bonus) into our future and into our retirement.”

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-542-6762. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.