Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. Here’s what it means for your company.

Beth Dean 06.24.21
Juneteenth

The History of Juneteenth

Last week (June 17, 2021), President Biden signed legislation that declares Juneteenth a federal holiday, going forward. Let’s explore what that means for you and your company.

Juneteenth occurs each year on June 19. It honors the day in 1865 when American forces declared that enslaved people in Texas were to be freed, marking the official end of slavery. It’s also referred to as Emancipation Day.

While many have informally celebrated this holiday for years, it historically has had trouble gaining visibility. Declaring Juneteenth as a federal holiday shows a commitment from the government to recognizing and celebrating the turning point in our country’s history.

What This Means to Companies

Last summer, the Black Lives Matter movement helped bring much-needed additional attention to equality issues. In response, several large companies began voluntarily adding Juneteenth to their roster of paid holidays. These companies included Apple, Nike, Target, JCPenny, and Spotify.

Now that it’s officially a federal holiday, it opens questions for employers on how to handle it correctly in the workplace. 

For federal employees, Juneteenth is now a paid holiday, allowing those workers to observe the day away from the workplace.

For private businesses, though, the question lingers of whether it’s mandatory to give employees that day off and add it to the roster of paid holidays. 

Generally speaking, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require businesses to provide paid days off for holidays. It’s a voluntary benefit that companies can choose to offer or not offer.

However, many employers do voluntarily offer the suite of paid holidays to their employees. They do this as part of creating a great place to work and helping to entice top workers to join and stay at their companies. If they choose to offer paid days off on specified federal holidays, they should be consistent across their employee population.

What Should My Company Do?

Employers should look at their current handbook regarding federal holidays to consider how they should observe Juneteenth moving forward.

If your workplace does not currently pay employees for holidays or give them the day off, then you can safely treat Juneteenth the same way. On the other hand, if your company does allow for paid days off on federal holidays, consider adding Juneteenth to that roster. Be sure to communicate any changes both in practice and in writing in your company’s handbook.

Keep in mind that federal holidays are for all employees at a company; not just a specific race, religion, or gender. Juneteenth isn’t meant to single out any employees and should be equally observed by all. 

If you’re a current Nextep client, please contact your HR business partner at Nextep for help. We are happy to modify your company’s employee handbook and provide further guidance on this new holiday. 

CONTACT our experts!

Also on Nextep

Find the Best Candidates You may be recruiting new employees to ensure full staffing for the months ahead. Here are 3 ways to find and recruit top talent for your company. 1. Use technology Start with the most straightforward recruiting solution: post an ad online. Today’s online job posting tools go beyond the average resume […]
Read more
Rest Up! For Illinois Workers, ODRISA is Now Law Beginning in 2023, The One Day Rest In Seven Act (ODRISA) allows Illinois employees the right to take one day off in seven, plus breaks during a long workday.  Here’s a breakdown of the basics: Employees must get a minimum of 24 hours of rest every […]
Read more
Starting in 2023, Illinois workers have expanded job-protected bereavement leave under the Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA). Let’s dig into the details. FBLA allows eligible employees to take up to 10 work days of unpaid leave following the death of a family member. Specifically, they are allowed time for any of the events covered by […]
Read more
How to Ask the Right Things, Plus 25 Sample Job Interview Questions When searching for the right employee to join your team, job interview questions are essential in narrowing down an employer’s candidate pool and allowing top candidates to showcase their innovation, ideas, and goals.  But sometimes, it’s even more important to consider how you […]
Read more
Asking about criminal history is risky business. Here’s what to do instead. You may be breaking the law if your job application includes a checkbox asking the candidate if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Banning this question during the application process, sometimes referred to as “ban the box,” gives people with criminal histories […]
Read more
Your medical leave could qualify for paid time off if you work in Colorado.  We’re familiar with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allowing qualified employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for themselves or a family member during certain medical or family events. But the FAMLI program takes this coverage […]
Read more
Asking about salary history may be banned in your state. “So, tell me about your salary history at your current job.” It’s a typical job interview question, often used by recruiters to help gauge whether the candidate would be satisfied with the salary offered at their company. Sometimes, though, the question can help them determine […]
Read more
If you don’t have transparent pay, you may be legally obliged to do it soon.   California is the latest of several states to mandate transparent pay in job postings.  When advertising a job vacancy, California businesses with 15 or more employees must now show a salary range that the employee may expect to earn […]
Read more
Regardless of the turnover rate, every company at some point has faced the struggle of employee recruitment. Selecting the right candidate for your workforce is tough, and there are many factors to consider.  The action items below can provide your company with tactics to minimize risk and help ensure you hire the right person to […]
Read more
The new year brings both new resolutions and state minimum wage and tax changes. We’ve compiled what employers need to know to stay compliant and prepare your 2023 budget! Minimum Wage Several states are increasing their minimum wage. As a reminder, when federal and state or local payroll laws differ, the employer must adhere to […]
Read more
How do you handle employee promotions? When promoting one of your star employees to a management or supervisory position, companies should take the time to train and help the manager adjust to their new role.  An employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor is one of the top five factors in job satisfaction, so a new […]
Read more
It should be no surprise that your employees post on social media or even blog throughout the day ─ maybe even on company time or equipment. And while they may not post on the clock, it’s unlikely that after hours they think their social media or blog posts could have consequences at work. While employers […]
Read more

Download Our App