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HRE’s number of the day: Juneteenth holiday

Here’s how many employees say their employer is giving them paid time off to observe Juneteenth—and what it means to HR leaders.
By: | June 19, 2020 • 2 min read


12: Percentage of employers making Juneteenth a paid company holiday

A growing number of companies are giving workers the day off in recognition of the end of slavery—most for the first time. According to a new poll of 204 employees from professional organization WorldatWork, 12% say their employer is giving them paid time off to observe Juneteenth.

What it means to HR leaders

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As social unrest and racial injustice protests continue, HR and other corporate leaders are trying to find their footing. Recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday is a way employers can offer their support to employees and give them an opportunity to “reflect on the systemic racism against Black Americans and more importantly, what we can do about it,” says Tracy Layney, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Levi Strauss & Co. Levi’s is among the companies that added Juneteenth as an official paid company holiday this year. Others include Namely, Twitter, Postmates and the University of Denver.

Related: Companies embracing Juneteenth as paid holiday

Julie Stich, vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, says that beyond “standard” holidays like Thanksgiving, Independence Day and Labor Day, a company’s paid holidays “reflect their culture, perspective and priorities.”

With a handful of employers quickly adding Juneteenth as a holiday this year, expect more companies to add the date as an official company holiday in the coming years.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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