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Don't Forget: Juneteenth Is a Federal Holiday


On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which passed both houses of Congress by wide margins. This brief act modifies Section 6103(a) of Title 5, United States Code, to add June 19 to the list of federal holidays.

What Is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, who had authority over Texas, issued an order saying that "in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor." Over time, this has become a widely accepted date to mark the end of slavery.

The List of Holidays

Juneteenth now joins the following list of federal holidays:

  • New Year’s Day, January 1.
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the third Monday in January.
  • Washington’s Birthday (Presidents Day), the third Monday in February.
  • Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
  • Juneteenth, June 19.
  • Independence Day, July 4.
  • Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
  • Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
  • Veterans Day, November 11.
  • Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
  • Christmas Day, December 25.

The federal holiday list technically applies only to federal employees; however, collective bargaining agreements, for example, may mandate time off on federal holidays or extra pay for working on those days. This new holiday is a good opportunity for employers to review their holiday policies and align themselves with any local rules and customs.


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