The Trump administration is implementing a first of its kind financial incentive it hopes will help U.S. Border Patrol retain agents following years in which more employees left than were hired.

Border Patrol's parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, on Wednesday announced a plan to reward rank-and-file agents and supervisors who enroll in the program with quarterly payments totaling 5% of their base salary. Agents must sign a contract to stay on with Border Patrol for 12-month stints.

The program is being rolled out quickly. Employees can sign up starting next week. Bonuses will start accruing in June and the first bonuses will be dispersed in September.

“Investing in the men and women of the United States Border Patrol continues to be my top priority,” U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said in a statement. “Their experience and expertise is critical to successfully accomplishing the border security mission.”

Border Patrol said it worked with the National Border Patrol Council to come up with the deal. National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd touted President Trump's "outside of the box thinking and business expertise" for the new deal, which was done in response to a 5% overtime pay cut agents and supervisors saw during the Obama administration.

He said the 5% bonus amount was not drawn up by coincidence.

"We lost 5% of our overtime pay," Judd said in a phone call Wednesday. "The reason is because we were very outspoken critics of the Obama administration ... They saw that they were able — without congressional oversight — they were able to cut our overtime. No other agency got cut. Since that time, we've just hemorrhaged agents like there's no tomorrow. The thought process was, 'OK, they lost 5%. Let's restore 5%.'"

As of early March, Border Patrol had lost more employees this year than it had hired. Approximately 450 agents were hired through March 2, while around 570 left for jobs in other federal agencies, local law enforcement, or outside of police work, Judd said.

The patrol hit an all-time high of 22,444 agents in 2011, but is now down to 19,555, as of the end of fiscal 2018.

Trump took executive action his first month in office and ordered 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents be hired. That order went unfulfilled by Congress.

Judd said the program will provide a temporary solution as agents on the border are especially needed due to the uptick in illegal crossings this year.

John P. Sanders, who is serving as acting CBP commissioner, said the new program will provide will provide agents at a critical item for the agency.

“We are facing a humanitarian and border security crisis on the southwest border, and those who serve on the front line are vital to that effort,” Sanders said in a statement.