Q&A: Do we need to provide Juneteenth as a paid holiday?
Question: Now that Juneteenth has officially been made a federal holiday, do we need to give people the day off?
Answer: Although June 19 has been designated as a federal holiday, as with all federal holidays, most private employers aren’t legally required to observe them. Whether you observe the new Juneteenth holiday will depend on your policies and whether you choose to make it a company-observed holiday. Your employees may expect the company to shut down on Juneteenth or individual employees may have a strong desire to take the day off to celebrate. As you evaluate your company’s paid holiday policy, you should weigh the employee relations impacts of which holidays you choose to recognize as paid days off; there may be compelling reasons to add Juneteenth as a recognized, paid holiday. However, in the absence of a legal or contractual obligation, private companies have the discretion to determine whether to do so.
If you have a unionized workforce, be sure to review your collective bargaining agreement to determine if you need to take any action in light of the new federal holiday. For example, language that provides that bargaining unit employees are entitled to paid time off for “all federal holidays” means that you must implement the change because you have a contractual obligation to do so.
To discuss your options and the pros and cons of changing your paid holiday policy, consult with your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.