The creation of a new federal holiday is rare, but one has just been created. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday making June 19, also known as Juneteenth, a new federal holiday.
This means that most federal employees will now have that day as a paid day off. Some corporations already gave workers paid time off for that date. Now that it’s a federal holiday, more employers may follow suit.
Juneteenth is a holiday remembers when Union troops arrived in the last slave-owning state to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. They arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation.
“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. … They embrace them,” said President Joe Biden in an address. “Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we make. And in remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”
This is the first federal holiday created since 1983, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was set as a federal holiday.
While this date is well known in the Black community, it is not so well known by other Americans. The SHRM has released a list of resources about the holiday that you can use to help educate your employees about it and its importance.