Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s. In June of 2021, President Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a new federal holiday. Juneteenth National Independence Day is the 12th legal public holiday in the United States and is the first one created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.

Juneteenth is observed on June 19 and commemorates the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States received news of their freedom and rights under the law, issued 2½ years earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation. The holiday has also become a day for African Americans to celebrate not only their freedom but their history, culture and achievements.

Federal employers are now mandated to provide Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Private employers can choose whether their organization will observe Juneteenth.

When asked in 2020, 8% of private employers reported offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday, and 17% said they were considering adding it. The 2022 Employee Benefits Survey revealed that 30% of private employers are offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday—This is in addition to federal employers already providing Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Considering that the 30% increase is higher than predicted in 2020, we’ll be watching this statistic more closely in 2024.

I spoke with Julie Stich, CEBS, Vice President of Content at the International Foundation. She said that offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday is just one small example of how organizations have made changes to their policies through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Many employers have questioned how they can become part of a DEI solution. Find resources to help educate and guide employers on their journey to building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace at www.ifebp.org/dei.

Source: Employee Benefits Survey: 2020 Results, Employee Benefits Survey: 2022 Results.

Cara McMullin

Communications Specialist Favorite Foundation Product: Word on Benefits Blog Benefits-related Topics That Interest Her Most: Equity and Inclusion, Workplace Wellness Personal Insight: Cara loves live theatre, concerts, and festivals – lots of fantastic options in Wisconsin. In her spare time, you can also find her reading, streaming TV/movies and spending time with family and friends at local restaurants, outdoor concerts, and farmers markets.

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