Jun 17, 2022 - Economy

Juneteenth is now a day off for 30% of private employers

Illustration of the June 2022 calendar with the Juneteenth flag filling the Monday the 20th square

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

More companies are giving their employees the day off for Juneteenth, a year after it became the 11th federal holiday.

Why it matters: Amid discussions of racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, 8% of private employers offered Juneteenth as a paid holiday in 2020 compared to 30% this year, according to survey data from the Wisconsin-based International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

  • Since Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, Monday is the day most businesses, including the federal government, will officially recognize the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned they'd been freed two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation, Axios' Ross Terrell reports.
  • Job-search database Randstad USA's survey of 1,030 American workers found that 43.5% will get a day off for Juneteenth, Bloomberg reported, noting it was an 11% increase from 2021. But half of the workers said they weren't paid for the day off.

The big picture: Americans are more familiar with Juneteenth than they were a year ago, when President Biden signed into law a bill to make it a federal holiday, according to a new Gallup poll, Axios’ Oriana Gonzalez reports.

Meanwhile, marketing platform Conductor found an increase in people searching for Juneteenth.

  • Prior to 2020, Conductor said it was normal to see an average of 3 million people searching to learn about Juneteenth every June. 
  • Conductor now is seeing over 32 million searching about Juneteenth, an increase of over 870% since 2020.

Flashback: Because Juneteenth became a federal holiday just days ahead of the holiday in 2021, there wasn’t time for many businesses, including the U.S. Postal Service and stock markets, to mark the day last year.

What they're saying: “For companies, giving employees the day off is a good place to start, particularly if that’s something that is specifically requested by employees as a benefit that would be meaningful to them,” Joshua DuBois, founder and CEO of insights platform Gauge, told Axios.

  • “It’s kind of like this is the first year a lot of employers might have had the opportunity to make changes if they wanted to,” Julie Stich, vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, said in an interview with Axios.
  • “It could be something that does grow as we move forward like Martin Luther King Jr. Day when that was made a federal holiday,” Stich said. “People didn't adopt it immediately but that adoption grew over time.”

By the numbers: The foundation's 2022 Employee Benefits Survey found that 46.7% of private employers offered Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday in 2022 compared with 43% in 2020. It was established as a federal holiday in 1983.

Nike closes stores for Juneteenth Sunday

Nike will close U.S. retail stores and distribution operations on Sunday, June 19, the company confirmed to Axios.

  • Corporate, manufacturing and Converse distribution operations will be closed on Monday, June 20 and Nike's manufacturing operations in Missouri will be closed on June 19 and 20.
  • Nike made Juneteenth an official company holiday in 2020 along with Target, Best Buy and Starbucks, who are keeping locations stores open for Juneteenth in 2022.

Banks, stock market closed Monday

U.S. stock markets and banks are closed for Juneteenth in 2022.

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