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How did your company recognize Juneteenth? Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of the last enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, TX two years following the Emancipation Proclamation. In 2021, Juneteenth was added to the Massachusetts Blue laws and as such requires “premium pay if you have retail employees. The premium rate is 1.1X regular rate.” In addition to giving employees the day off (Monday, June 20 this year, since Juneteenth 2022 falls on a Sunday), businesses are honoring the day through employee education about the actual day and about continued racial barriers. Now is the time for organizations to create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) program, if they don’t have one already. Good programming should foster a psychologically safe space to discuss DEI topics. Consider an anonymous Q&A opportunity for employees to ask DEI-related and general HR questions. Also, ask people of underrepresented groups for their personal insights through Employee Resource Groups. Use the anonymous submissions and ERG insights to create appropriate training for everyone. Be ready to accept missteps and make appropriate changes.
With the celebration of Juneteenth this month, it is a great time to discuss floating holidays. Companies can choose to give floating holidays, rather than a specific day off. This allows organizations to not single out holidays based on race, religion, or other protected classes. It also gives employees the flexibility to choose how and when they take holidays/personal days that are of importance to them.
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