On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a new federal holiday. Juneteenth National Independence Day is now the 12th legal public holiday in the United States, and the first one created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.
The data below provides a look at the practices employers had put into place prior to Juneteenth being established as a federal holiday. Going forward, federal employers will be mandated to provide Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Private employers can choose whether or not their organization will observe Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is observed on June 19 and commemorates the day in 1865 when the last of the enslaved people in the United States received news of their freedom and rights under the law, which was issued 2½ years earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s a blend of the words June and 19th.
Following the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the subsequent calls for social justice, organizations have reexamined their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
I spoke with Julie Stich, CEBS, VP of Content at the International Foundation. She said that offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday is just one example of how organizations have made changes to their policies with the lens of DEI.
According to the International Foundation Employee Benefits Survey: 2020 Results, 8% of organizations currently offer June 19 as a paid holiday, and 17% are considering adding it. Among those organizations offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday, the majority (96%) offered it for the first time starting in 2020.
Julie added that moving into 2021, it’s likely that employers will continue to focus on DEI initiatives with their employees and in their community.
Learn More About DEI in the Workplace
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.
Communications and Social Marketing Strategist
The latest from Word on Benefits:
- Pet-Friendly Workplaces: A Paw-fect Employee Retention Tool
- Life Skills Initiatives in Apprenticeship Training
- Number of Employers Offering Juneteenth As a Paid Holiday On the Rise
- The Perfect Storm Facing Canada’s Rapidly Aging Population: An Interview with Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, Ph.D.
- Meeting the Benefit Needs of Your LGBTQ+ Plan Members