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Since Juneteenth was designated a federal holiday in the United States by President Biden last year, governors, mayors and CEOs of major companies have followed suit and given employees the day off as a paid holiday.
Juneteenth, recognized annually on June 19, marks the anniversary of the day federal troops liberated the last enslaved people in Galveston, Texas in 1884. That day, nearly two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, is recognized as the effective end of slavery in the United States.
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Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday since 1983, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day being the last to be instituted. Although Juneteenth is now recognized on a federal level, not all companies and states have complied. But certain companies have stepped up to honor Juneteenth this year and beyond.
When is Juneteenth recognized in 2022?
Juneteenth is June 19, 2022, but it falls on a Sunday this year. As with other federal holidays such as July 4, businesses that close for the day take the prior Friday or following Monday off if it falls on a weekend.
Who gets Juneteenth off as a paid holiday?
Juneteenth is now one of 11 federal holidays, joining others like Christmas and the Fourth of July. Federal organizations such as banks and public schools observe these holidays by giving employees the day off.
State vs. national regulations
Although Juneteenth was officially designated a federal holiday by the Biden administration in 2021, certain states and cities abide by their own regulations, with some having recognized the day as a state holiday before 2021. New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon and Delaware have all made Juneteenth a state holiday — with Texas being far ahead of the pack by instituting it in 1980 and Massachusetts in 2007. New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania recognized the holiday in 2020 — a year before it became federally instituted — prompted by the murder of George Floyd. When a holiday is recognized at the state level, all government employees and programs have the day off to observe. Private businesses and organizations determine their schedules.
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These major companies have announced Juneteenth is now an annual company holiday
Big names like Nike, Target and Best Buy are setting the standard for others to follow by observing the day with either time off or extra pay.
Nike announced in 2020 it would be recognizing Juneteenth as a paid federal holiday for all its US and Puerto Rican employees. “Across our Nike, Converse, and Jordan family, we will close our corporate, retail, manufacturing and distribution operations in observance of Juneteenth to provide educational opportunities that honor Black history and culture,” said Nike director of communications for North America Jenna Golden in an email to NPR.
Ride-sharing app Lyft is honoring Juneteenth as a paid company holiday for all corporate employees. However, the policy doesn’t apply to Lyft drivers, who are independent contractors.
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Zillow is also giving employees the day off for Juneteenth. “As part of our ongoing commitment to racial equality, Zillow observes Juneteenth as a paid company holiday, and encourages employees to take the day for reflection, volunteerism, education, and activism to commemorate the end of slavery in the US,” Zillow vice president Kristina Adamski said in a statement.
Tech companies like Twitter and Square have joined in making Juneteenth a paid company holiday, with Twitter making its signature blue bird logo black on the holiday in 2020 and adding the hashtag BlackLivesMatter to its description. Google has not made Juneteenth a company holiday, but it encourages employees to cancel meetings on the day. Amazon has also adopted a similar anti-meeting approach to the holiday, as well as offering a range of “online learning opportunities” throughout the day.
Certain retail corporations, such as Target and Starbucks, have opted to stay open but will pay employees time-and-a-half on Juneteenth.
What does it mean moving forward?
Because Juneteenth is still fairly new to the federal holiday calendar, many businesses have yet to sort out an adjusted schedule for workers. Still, the companies that have acknowledged the holiday since day one are setting an example for others to follow.
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