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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Who gets paid time off to celebrate Juneteenth in the years to come will be uneven and complicated, if history is any guide.

Why it matters: Corporate America hasn't grappled with a new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was authorized almost 40 years ago. How they responded took years to evolve.

  • To this day, it's among those not universally recognized as a paid day off for corporate employees — not to mention for hourly workers.

What's happening: Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are offering a "floating" paid holiday this year — and starting in 2022, it will be part of its holiday schedule.

  • Morgan Stanley told its employees it could "step away from work at midday" today, Bloomberg reports.
  • Nike says it will close all of its distribution centers and retail stores tomorrow, but stores like Target and JCPenney will be open. Starbucks will pay hourly workers time-and-a-half tomorrow, as it did last year.

Catch up quick: Juneteenth has been informally celebrated since 1865 — when the last enslaved people finally got word of their freedom — but corporate America began acknowledging the day just last year, weeks after George Floyd's murder.

  • Over 800 companies are now giving employees paid time off, up from roughly 500 last year, according to Hella Creative — a group that's been petitioning corporations to acknowledge the day.

What to watch: One area where the observance of federal holidays is most inconsistent is stock exchanges — the cornerstone of financial markets.

  • There's no hard-and-fast rule for when trading shuts down. The exchanges close in observance of MLK Day, but they're open on Veterans Day. They close for Good Friday, even though it's not a federal holiday.
  • What exchanges, regulators and industry groups decide for Juneteenth could push employers in adjacent industries to give workers time off.

Go deeper

Sep 7, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota's return-to-office dud

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Still working from home this morning? You're not alone.

State of play: Sept. 7 was long targeted by companies as the day they would bring their workers back to the office.

  • At the time the date was set, the COVID caseload in Minnesota was low, hospitals had plenty of open beds and people were getting vaccinated in massive numbers.

Fast forward: The vaccination rate has slowed, the Delta variant has spread and hospitals are again nearing capacity. And big companies like Target, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank have pushed back their return-to-work plans.

Why it matters: Some percentage of workers are miserable at home and were looking forward to coming back.

  • Plus, restaurants and retailers that thrive off office workers are once again playing the waiting game as their debt to landlords piles up.
Updated 50 mins ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker

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