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Culture Builder / Leadership / Workplace culture

How many companies offer Juneteenth as a paid holiday?

Fewer than one in 10 professionals get the day off. That may continue to change quickly, thanks to federal legislation and social movement.

The 2018 Philadelphia Juneteenth Musicfest and Parade. (Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia)

Written by Technically Media CEO Chris Wink,’s new Culture Builder newsletter features tips on growing powerful teams and dynamic workplaces. Below is the latest edition we published. Sign up here to get the next one this Friday.

For two years, 180,000 Americans were enslaved in Texas illegally.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when the U.S. federal government enforced Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. A friend once told me his choice was between his native country that had no justice and the United States, “where justice only comes when we get around to it.”

Juneteenth is no new holiday. Something happened in 2020, though. A Civil Rights era, decades of advocacy work and an inspiring Black Lives Matter movement contributed to thousands of companies making the overdue transition to formally honoring Juneteenth. Exasperated workplace leaders were looking for something, anything, to do after the murder of George Floyd and adding a new paid holiday was one of the easiest steps to take.

Tech companies at the forefront of American workplace culture were among the quickest to respond, joined by leaders in Corporate America. Even still, fewer than one in 10 professionals have today off. Twice as many professionals get Veteran’s Day off, though federal legislation and social movement have accelerated Juneteenth. (The average American professional gets 8.5 paid holidays annually.)

What percentage of U.S. professionals get these paid holidays? (Graphic by

It helped advance the most recent new national holiday. A decade after the assassination of one of the most consequential private-citizen civic leaders in American history, Martin Luther King Jr. was honored with his own holiday in 1979. Today, just a third of professionals get that day off from work, though many others volunteer with their workplaces.

It’s easy to tease the rush to add Juneteenth as a paid company holiday as a kind of woke-washing, because it could be misunderstood as a distraction from deeper racial inequality work. The message of the holiday, though, is not that salvation had arrived. Instead, the message is that justice is delayed yet again.

And now the links.

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