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.

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 small example of how organizations have made changes to their policies with the lens of DEI.

Federal employers are now mandated to provide Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Private employers can choose whether or not their organization will observe Juneteenth.

When asked in 2020, 8% of private employers reported offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday, and 17% said they 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.

Early results are in from the soon-to-be-published report, Employee Benefits Survey: 2022 Results. When asked about their plans for this year, 30% of private employers reported that they are offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday—This is in addition to any federal employers already providing Juneteenth as a paid holiday to employees.

With a jump from 8% to 30%, this is a stat we’ll be keeping a close eye on.

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 (preliminary data).

Anne Patterson
Marketing Communications Manager

The latest from Word on Benefits:

Anne Patterson

Marketing Communications Manager

Favorite Foundation Product: Foundation Community. It’s like LinkedIn but only for Foundation members. They can post questions, share best practices, etcall with fellow members who also live and breathe employee benefits.

Benefits-related Topics That Interest Her Most: Workplace wellness (especially mental health), diversity, equity and inclusion, behavioral decision making, family-friendly benefits, payroll audits.

Personal Insight: When she’s not busy analyzing the inner workings of her toddler’s brain (does anyone actually know?!), Anne finds joy in home renovation and décor, haiku writing, watching Jeopardy, creating charcuterie boards, and bicycling.

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