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Since Juneteenth has been designated a federal holiday in the United States by President Biden last year, governors, mayors and big business CEOs followed suit and gave employees the day off as a paid holiday.
Juneteenth, recognized annually on June 19, marks the anniversary of the day federal troops freed the last slaves in Galveston, Texas in 1884. On this 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 federally recognized, not all companies and states have complied. But some companies have stepped up to honor Juneteenth this year and beyond.
When is Juneteenth recognized in 2022?
June 19 is June 19, 2022, but it falls on a Sunday this year. As with other federal holidays like July 4, businesses that close for the day take the day off the previous Friday or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend.
Who gets Juneteenth as a paid holiday?
Juneteenth is now one of 11 federal holidays, joining others like Christmas and the 4th of July. Federal organizations such as banks and public schools observe these holidays by giving employees the day off.
State and national regulations
Although Juneteenth was officially designated a federal holiday by the Biden administration in 2021, some states and cities follow their own regulations, with some recognizing the day as a holiday prior to 2021. New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon and Delaware all made Juneteenth a holiday – with Texas far ahead of the pack in establishing it as a 1980 and Massachusetts in 2007. New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania recognized the holiday in 2020 — a year before it took effect federally — following the murder of George Floyd. When a holiday is recognized at the state level, all government employees and programs have a day off to observe. Companies and private organizations determine their schedules.
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These big companies have announced that Juneteenth is now an annual holiday
Big names like Nike, Target, and Best Buy are setting the standard for others to follow in observing the day with time off or extra pay.
Nike announcement in 2020, it would recognize Juneteenth as a paid federal holiday for all of its U.S. and Puerto Rican employees. “Across our Nike, Converse and Jordan family, we will close our corporate, retail, manufacturing and distribution operations on June 19 to provide educational opportunities that honor the history and black culture,” Nike’s director of communications for North America, Jenna Golden, said in an email to NPR.
Rideshare app Lyft honors Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all company employees. However, the policy does not apply to Lyft drivers, who are independent contractors.
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Zillow is also giving employees a day off for Juneteenth. “As part of our ongoing commitment to racial equality, Zillow observes Juneteenth as a paid holiday and encourages employees to take the day for reflection, volunteerism, education and activism to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States,” said Zillow’s vice president. Kristina Adamski said in a statement.
Tech companies like Twitter and Square have teamed up to make Juneteenth a paid holiday, with Twitter making its iconic blue bird logo black during the holiday in 2020 and adding the BlackLivesMatter hashtag to its description. Google hasn’t made Juneteenth a corporate holiday, but it’s encouraging employees to cancel meetings day. Amazon has also taken a similar anti-dating approach to the holidays, while offering a range of “online learning opportunities” during the day.
Some retail companies, such as Target and Starbucks, have opted to stay open but will pay time-and-a-half employees on June 16.
What does it mean to move forward?
Since Juneteenth is still relatively new to the federal holiday calendar, many companies have yet to set an adjusted schedule for workers. Yet the companies that have recognized the holidays since day one are setting an example for others.
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