The recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is placing pressure on more American companies to offer their employees the day off.
Hundreds of major corporations had previously promised to mark Juneteenth in the aftermath of the police death of George Floyd and the subsequent national reckoning with racism.
However, most private businesses base their holiday schedules on the federal government, the country’s largest employer. Following the approval of a bipartisan Congressional measure, President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday honoring the abolition of slavery.
According to HellaCreative, a group of Black creative professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area that started a campaign last year to garner business support for making June 19th an official holiday, more than 800 companies have publicly vowed to honor Juneteenth. This is roughly double the amount of firms that pledged last year.
Many businesses, on the other hand, had little time to rearrange their holiday schedules. Some companies provided staff with a regular paid day off or pledged to explore adding it to their calendars for the next year.
Nasdaq said its U.S. exchange will remain open on Friday and Monday to ensure a fair and orderly market and to avoid operational risks, but that it would consult with authorities and firms about its future holiday schedule.
Because of the declaration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, companies that don’t follow suit will look bad.